Call for Papers JAm It! Issue #10
We are pleased to announce a special issue of JAm It! (Journal of American Studies in Italy) titled “Resurgence and Decolonization: Creating Alternative Worlds.” Our inquiry aims to explore the transformative power of Indigenous Resurgence movements, which seek to transcend the limitations of settler colonial systems by envisioning alternative ways of thinking, organizing, and being.
We conceive Indigenous Resurgence as a practice of cultural self-recognition and empowerment at the center of a decolonial project that aims to go beyond the asymmetrical political forms of recognition and politics currently (and for the past five centuries) enacted by settler States in North America, centered on genocidal practices, forced exclusion and assimilation. Thus, Resurgence is not only affirmative but also transformative as it attempts to correct unjust models of redistribution of power and resources. At the heart of these movements lies the notion of “grounded normativity,” which Glen Coulthard defines as “the modalities of Indigenous land-connected practices and longstanding experiential knowledge that inform and structure our ethical engagements with the world and our relationships with human and nonhuman others over time” (2014, 13). These place-based relationships are never hierarchical in nature, rather they present themselves as nonlinear across time and space, entail responsibilities, and are subject to self-correction and rebalances.
Whilst decolonization and resurgence do not necessarily foreground sovereignty, Indigenous scholars are promoting the concept of “resurgence-based decolonial indigenization” with the aim of revolutionizing the academic landscape by inclusively integrating Indigenous perspectives in ways that hold transformative potential (Kuokkanen 2008). This transformative shift actively empowers and revitalizes Indigenous communities, fostering a more inclusive and respectful approach to Indigenous cultures and their spirituality both within and beyond academia. Simultaneously, movements like Idle No More and #NoDAPL testify to Indigenous peoples’ willingness and need to reshape their current relationship with settler societies. They advocate pioneering models of coexistence with both the human and more-than-human world, vehemently opposing domination and exploitation, all while being firmly grounded in the anti-capitalistic principles inherent to Indigenous traditions.
In Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back (2011) and As We Have Always Done (2017), Leanne Betasamosake Simpson explains how the Indigenous Resurgence movements were not created to challenge or even change the current settler colonial system, but rather they are aiming for a non-hierarchical, nonexploitative, non-extractive, and nonauthoritarian approach. They seek to rebuild the vitality and autonomy of Indigenous modes of living, that settler colonialism sought to destroy through state policies, the school system, and dispossession (Talaga 2018). Moreover, Resurgence is an intergenerational effort, with Elders actively shaping future generations’ connection to the land and Indigenous wisdom. It invites resistance, persistence, commitment, care, connection, and a radical alternative rooted in reciprocity and a rejection of colonial recognition.
This call for proposals invites scholars, researchers, artists, and activists to contribute to a rich and diverse discourse on Resurgence and decolonization across disciplines. We encourage submissions that engage with, but are not limited to, the following themes:
- Indigenous Resurgence and the Decolonization of Literature: Exploring Indigenous literary traditions, oral storytelling, and contemporary Indigenous literature that embodies and expresses the principles of resurgence and decolonization.
- The Role of Theater and Performing Arts in Resurgence: Investigating how theater, dance, and other performing arts can serve as transformative platforms for promoting Indigenous Resurgence and decolonial narratives.
- Reclaiming Indigenous Histories and Knowledges: Analyzing efforts to recover and preserve Indigenous histories, knowledges, and ceremonies that were marginalized or erased by colonialism.
- Political Movements of Resistance and Resurgence: Understanding the impact of movements like "Idle No More," examining their successes, challenges, and the use of social media in mobilization and advocacy.
- Sense of Place and Land in Resurgence: Understanding the profound connection between Indigenous communities and their ancestral lands, and how this relationship informs the resurgence movement.
- Social Media as a Tool for Indigenous Resurgence: Investigating the revolutionary use of social media platforms to nurture community relations, promote wellness, and amplify Indigenous voices, as demonstrated by initiatives like "Everyday Indigenous Resurgence" during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Decolonizing Education and Knowledge Systems: Exploring alternative educational models rooted in Indigenous ways of learning, challenging the dominant Western pedagogical approaches.
- Art as Resistance: Investigating how Indigenous artists use their creative expression to resist colonialism, assert their identities, and foster decolonial consciousness.
- Healing and Well-being in Resurgence: Examining traditional healing practices and their revitalization as part of the Resurgence movement.
- Resurgence and Environmental Justice: Investigating how Indigenous peoples are challenging the structures of contemporary global capitalism, speaking out to protect the environment from exploitation and contamination, advocating for forms of relationality and kinship that counter Western epistemologies of human/nature dualism
- Gaming as Resurgence: Analyzing how Indigenous-designed games ask players to enact forms of generative resistance at a narratological level and how they can be used to indigenize knowledge.
We welcome research papers and critical essays that contribute to the understanding and celebration of Indigenous Resurgence and decolonization. Submissions should be original and aligned with the principles of ethical research and cultural sensitivity.
Interested scholars should submit a 500-word abstract and brief academic bio to the editors Mattia Arioli (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sara Riccetti (email@example.com), and cc’ing firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31, 2023. In case of acceptance, essays of no more than 8,000 words will be due by April 1, 2024.