Conference CFP: Settler responsibilities towards decolonisation

The University of Auckland is hosting a Marsden Funded international symposium in February 2021, and invites submissions from across the arts. Given the uncertain nature of the Covid-19 situation, the University is preparing to host this conference virtually if needed.

This symposium will delve into the possible roles and responsibilities involved with decolonisation, focusing on both theoretical and empirical research that explores these issues in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere in the indigenous-settler world.

Papers from all disciplines that examine these issues are welcome, and accommodation and meals will be provided for accepted participants.

The deadline for a paper proposal and Curriculum Vitae is 31 May 2020.

For more details read below or click here.

Call for papers: Settler Responsibilities Towards Decolonisation

International symposium AND/OR virtual conferencing

February 9-11, 2021

Submission deadline: 31 May 2020

Decolonisation has become the focus of a growing body of scholarship across a wide range of disciplines. This scholarship variously calls for the decolonisation of institutions, research methods and academic disciplines, colonised minds, societies, places and ways of life. The proliferation of the language of decolonisation has led to the influential argument of Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang (2012, 1) that ‘decolonisation is not a metaphor for other things we might want to do to improve our societies and schools’. Tuck and Yang remind scholars that, for indigenous people, decolonisation is, rather, a material matter of the return of land and sovereignty. This symposium emerges from a commitment to that indigenous project of decolonisation and, specifically, the roles that settler peoples can and do play in contributing to it. We accept Tuck and Yang’s (2012) argument that it is not the role of decolonisation to formulate and rescue a settler future. That future must remain an open question and cannot be the focus of decolonising work. However, we argue that settlers can contribute and in fact are necessary contributors to decolonisation. If colonisation is a relation – involving coloniser and colonised – decolonisation requires changed identities and relations involving all sides.

The aim of this symposium is to bring to the fore the possible roles and responsibilities of settlers in decolonisation work. We are interested in theoretical arguments and empirical research from across the disciplines that explores these roles and responsibilities in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere in the indigenous-settler world. We welcome submissions that address any of the following questions:

  • What can settler individuals and communities contribute to decolonisation?
  • What are our/their particular responsibilities?
  • What unlearnings and learnings are required of settlers to do this work?
  • What relationships are required between settler and indigenous peoples to further decolonisation?
  • How are settler relations to place disrupted and re-formed in this work?
  • What are the impacts on settler subjectivities?
  • How should these contributions and roles be theorised – in terms of allyship? Accomplices? Collaborators? Partners? Or some other term? What is the significance of how this work is characterised?
  • How can work in this area contribute to our understandings of the interaction of colonialism and race in the constitution of white settler subjectivities?

There will be no attendance or accommodation fee for accepted participants in the event the planned residential symposium goes ahead. However, participants will need to cover the costs of their transport to and from the venue.

Alternative, virtual scenario

Given the unknown future we face globally in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, we may decide to run this symposium via virtual web-based technologies or some mix of face-to-face and virtual participation. We are keeping our options open at this stage.

Submissions, expectations & timeline

Participants will be expected to pre-circulate drafts of works in progress in advance of the symposium. After the symposium, selected papers will be published in either an international edited collection (initial discussions with a potential publisher are underway) or a special issue of an international peer-reviewed journal.

Connect to the symposium webpage here


Please submit a paper proposal [250 word maximum] with a short cv to the symposium convenors by 31 May 2020.

Avril Bell,

Billie Lythberg,

Chris Woods

Deadline for pre-circulation of draft works in progress: 7 December 2020

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