Entangled Modernities: New Directions in Settler Colonial and Critical Indigenous Studies - 25th-26th May, University of Kent

January 22, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Alice Te Punga Somerville (University of Waikato)


In the last two decades, new methodologies have emerged for analysing the entanglements

between European and non-European histories in sites of colonisation. Settler Colonial

Studies has emerged as an interdisciplinary project that seeks to move beyond frameworks

dominated by questions of race and identity, and towards a transnational analysis of settler

colonialism as a structure with its own particular and distinct logics and practices. However,

despite the critical stance towards imperial and colonial ideologies and practices, many

scholars in Critical Indigenous Studies have argued persuasively that Settler Colonial Studies

undermines the Indigenous activist standpoint and replicates colonial power. In this reading,

the structural approach of Settler Colonial Studies ‘posits a structural inevitability to settler

colonial relations that leaves no space for individual agency for both Indigenous people and

settler colonists alike’.[1]


In literary studies, the ‘transnational turn’ in American, Victorian and Romantic Studies has

led to a critical reassessment of nationalist literary historiographies that efface the influence

of colonisation on Anglophone literary culture during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In recent years, frameworks from Critical Race and Indigenous Studies, as well as those from

new imperial history, globalisation theory and Settler Colonial Studies, have led to a critical

re-examination of the role that colonisation and colonial practices of knowledge gathering

had on British and American literary culture, and a renewed focus on the literary cultures and

institutions of the settler colonies.


This symposium, a collaboration between the Centre for Indigenous and Settler Colonial

Studies at the University of Kent and the ERC Southem project at University College Dublin,

aims to bring scholars and activists working in Critical Indigenous Studies and Settler

Colonial Studies into closer dialogue with those working in the fields of transnational

American Studies and Global Victorian and Romantic Studies. It aims to produce new

research collaborations and methodologies for critically examining the complex cultural

entanglements between the various European and non-European cultures operating under the

conditions of colonisation during the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries.


We invite proposals for panels, papers and other forms of presentation that speak to one or

more of the following topics:

  • The impact of the ‘transnational turn’ on analyses of Indigenous/settler relations

  • Indigenous and settler mobilities: migration, emigration, colonisation, displacement,

  • enslavement, indenture

  • Indigenous survivance and resistance

  • Indigenous and settler identities that exceed, resist or complicate the

  • Indigenous/settler binary

  • Indigenous and settler print culture

  • The problems inherent in accessing Indigenous texts through the colonial archive

  • Temporal disjunctions in representations of colonial modernity and Indigenous

  • peoples/cultures in print culture

  • The role of Indigenous people in colonial knowledge networks

  • The problematics of pre-modern/modern/post-modern

  • Methodological frameworks such as colonial, settler colonial, postcolonial, decolonial

  • Geographical scales beyond the nation state: global; transnational; transregional;

  • oceanic

  • Postcolonial Digital Humanities and Indigenous Data Sovereignty


300 word abstracts, along with short bios, to be submitted to Dr. Lara Atkin

L.E.Atkin@kent.ac.uk by Friday February 28th 2020.


[1] Corey Snelgrove, Rita Kaur Dhamoon and Jeff Corntassel, ‘Unsettling Settler Colonialism: The Discourse and Politics of Settlers, and Solidarity with Indigenous Nations’, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 3, no. 2 (2014).


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