Call for Book Chapters: Travels to North America: Imagining Pre-Columbian Contact

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Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
September 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Atlantic History / Studies, Archaeology

Various television programs, books and magazines have discussed other cultures arriving in North America before Columbus. Archaeological evidence has confirmed that Vikings settled in North America in the 11th century, but other theories regarding pre-Columbian voyages to North America lack mainstream acceptance. This lack of evidence has not stopped popular television programs and books from speculating and asserting their own pre-Columbian contact theories. Some of the older pre-Columbian contact theories have argued that the Romans, Celts and Phoenicians crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed in North America. More recently, television programs, books and magazines have proposed that the Knights Templar (sometimes with the assistance of Henry Sinclair) escaped to North America with treasures of religious significance. Theories have also been proposed linking Chinese explorers to North America, both on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, before Columbus. This book seeks to critically explore how popular culture and pseudohistory have examined pre-Columbian travel to North America. These theories have found various outlets on cable television, the internet, magazines and books, some of which have become bestsellers. 

This book seeks to interrogate the boundaries between what archaeological investigations inform us about pre-Columbian contact theories and how popular culture has imagined them. Many of these books and television programs that have proposed pre-Columbian contact theories have reached wide audiences and have certainly influenced perceptions on this topic. This proposed book seeks to explore the strategies television programming, websites, tourist sites and books have used to convince their respective audiences that European, African, Middle Eastern and Asian travellers arrived in North America before Columbus. Vernon Press invites scholarly contributions that explore the following topics: 

  • How have specific television programs and internet sites explored theories relating to pre-Columbian travel and contact? 
  • How have historical sites responded to being labelled pre-Columbian? Have they embraced and cultivated this label or challenged it? 
  • How have popular culture and literature discussed artifacts connected to pre-Columbian travel that are either fraudulent or have highly questionable authenticities? What strategies have been used to convince audiences of the artifact’s authenticity? 
  • How have new age and pseudohistorical books promoted pre-Columbian contact theories?

Scholars interested in contributing should email a 300-word abstract and a recent C.V. to Dr. Brian de Ruiter (bderuiter@brocku.ca) by September 15, 2021

Timeline for completion.

Acceptance notifications will be sent out in October. 

First drafts should be completed by March 27, 2022. Contributions should be between 5,000 and 6,000 words in length including references.

Final submissions should be completed by July 31, 2022.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Brian de Ruiter

Contact Email: