Call for Contributions – Edited collection Indigenous North American Futurities in Literature, Media, and Museums

Deadline for abstracts: Jan. 15, 2023

Deadline for essays April 15, 2023

When we are in the throes of major crises, from the global pandemic to a pending climate apocalypse, thinking about a different tomorrow may feel impossible. Designing alternative futures has become one of the central cultural tasks of the twenty-first century, and Indigenous North American writers, visual artists, curators, comedians, film makers, video game designers, and web developers are at the forefront of this movement. From pre-contact stories to contemporary science fiction, Indigenous cultures abound with visions of the future as sites of “survivance” (Gerald Vizenor). While settler colonialist imaginaries of progress have, for the longest time, strategically displaced Native cultures into a fixed, containable past, Indigenous literatures and cultures not only successfully defy these mechanisms of Othering but offer sustainable variants of futurity in powerful networks of transnational exchange.

Simultaneously, futurity is not only a concept and theme, but an active process towards empowerment and social change, a methodology that foregrounds and centers Indigenous knowledges. As Mvskoke geographer Laura Harjo puts it, Indigenous futurity is “the enactment of theories and practices that activate our ancestors’ unrealized possibilities, the act of living out the futures we wish for in a contemporary moment, and the creation of the conditions for these futures.”1

This volume seeks to bring together interdisciplinary perspectives on Indigenous futurities. We particularly invite contributions on Indigenous temporalities, on representations of the future in Indigenous fiction, drama, film, visual arts and digital media, social networks, museums, and performance spaces as well as on futurism as a method.

Possible alleys of inquiry include, for instance:

– the semantics of Indigenous futurity as manifested in the representational archives of museums and digital platforms;

– the roles of ethnicity, race, gender, class, and heritage in future identities

– the ways in which futurity and “temporal sovereignty” (Mark Rifkin) resonate with larger North American, European, or global representations of history;

– the intersections and overlaps between ‘other’ futures and alternative systems of knowledge;

– engagements of u- or dystopia, apocalypse, and the speculative, as well as revisions of genre conventions (in poetry, fiction, drama, painting, and film) in light of futurity;

– the seismographic, diagnostic, and interventional effects of Indigenous futurities on social and political contexts;

– the strategies by which these modes of knowledge connect transnationally, and by which they can be communicated across cultural and national boundaries.

We particularly welcome contributions by Indigenous scholars and researchers at all career stages.

Please send your abstracts and chapters to:

bethany.webster-parmentier@uni-flensburg.de and birgit.daewes@uni-flensburg.de.

Timeline: We invite abstracts, titles, and short bios by January 15, 2023. Full submissions of 6,000-8,000 words will be accepted by April 15, 2023.

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1 “Indigenous Planning: Constellating with Kin and Urban Futurity.” Planning Theory & Practice 22.4 (2021): 615-20; 617.

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