Description: Against Wind and Tide tells the story of African American’s battle against the American Colonization Society (ACS), founded in 1816 with the intention to return free blacks to its colony Liberia. Although ACS members considered free black colonization in Africa a benevolent enterprise, most black leaders rejected the ACS, fearing that the organization sought forced removal. As Ousmane K. Power-Greene’s story shows, these African American anticolonizationists did not believe Liberia would ever be a true “black American homeland.”

Call for Paper Proposals for a 5 panel section co-chaired by Dr. Elian Weizman and Dr. Sharri Plonski:

“Unravelling Contemporary Settler-Colonial Relations: Realities, Knowledge and Decolonisation” at the 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: “The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises”, Barcelona, September 2017.

DEADLINE: 10 February 2017

In the field of International Relations, the settler-colonial present is often muted in quests to unravel contemporary crises. Yet, its core logics persist in ongoing movements of territorial conquest, capital accumulation and dispossession of peoples, often under the guise of development, state-building, and good governance. Glen Coulthard (2014), in his discussion of Canadian settler colonialism, argues that the obfuscation of settler-colonial relations derives from its ability to make its constitutive hierarchies seem natural; its strength depending on its ability to incorporate the cultural and ideological activity that takes place within society and transform it into legitimating support. In rendering its history and present ‘normal’, it reshapes critique of colonial social relations – in which the dispossession of the native is a ceaseless feature – to give it moral parameters that entrench its legitimacy. This section aims to interrogate the mechanisms through which settler-colonial logics are normalised and hidden, determined moral and made final. Its particular focus is on the way knowledge is harnessed to control narrations of past and present, as well as the relations between colonialists, natives and the different populations that have been made subordinate to, and yet essential producers of this project. It is our contention that it is the elasticity of settler-colonial knowledge that makes it so difficult to challenge; in effect, to decolonise it. This section will bring together scholars studying settler colonial movements/states, to discuss the ways in which knowledge production becomes ambiguous, resilient and incontestable, in order to work towards its decolonisation.

We welcome individual paper proposals that can fit one of the following panel themes:

1) The Contemporary Settler Colonial State 
This will include two panels that explore the past and present machinations of settler-colonialism, the different movements and agents that territorialise settler logics in contemporary states, and the multiple interstices with other current projects of erasure and replacement (i.e. capitalism). They unravel intersecting repressive and productive practices that interact to entrench the settler-colonial present.

2) Colonial ‘Unknowing’ – Knowledge production of/in settler societies
These two panels will explore the significant role ‘knowledge’ plays in the production and sustainment of settler-colonial relations. Contributors will examine the different sites, agents and material nodes that render settler knowledge normal, hidden and unchallengeable.

3) Decolonising Knowledge – Modes of resistance and change
This panel/roundtable will explore the different ways in which knowledge is/can be decolonised through indigenous and anti-colonial resistance movements; discussing their modes of negating, rejecting and de-normalising settler relations, and their capacity to construct alternative knowledge.

Proposals (with abstracts of 200 words maximum) must be submitted via the online submission system:

For any questions please email

Abstract: The reorientation of federal state policy on Canada’s relation to Indigenous peoples that occurred in the years 1969-1974, although heralded as progressive, inaugurated not so much an age of liberation, restititution, and reconciliation as a bureaucratic and institutional framework for perpetuating settler-colonial processes of dispossession and assimilation. This was a period of intense struggle both within and without Indigenous politics, as activist dissidents to the increasing institutionalization of negotiation with the colonial state were branded as pathological and dangerous “Red Power” militants and phased out from mainstream political discourse.
As they lived through the contradictions of these processes, three such militants turned to writing autobiographies that would become foundational influences upon the development of Indigenous literature in Canada: Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed, Howard Adams’s Prison of Grass, and Lee Maracle’s Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel. These autobiographies, which explicitly spoke to the writers’ political and activist experiences and positions, occupy a complicated position in Indigenous literary history. Often relegated to a bygone moment of polemic, bitterness, and resentment, they have been more or less systematically misread or dismissed as works of literature by literary critics. This thesis proposes that considering these works in their formal and narrative specificity, as well as constituting a literary-critical and literary-historical end in itself given the dearth of scholarly attention paid to this period of Indigenous/Canadian history in general and these works in particular, can open up productive theoretical and critical insights into two ongoing disciplinary concerns: dismantling ongoing scholarly investments in colonial premises about and usages of narrative, subjectivity, and history; and envisaging possible relations between Indigenous literature(s) and literary study and anti-colonial political processes, especially processes of activism and movement-building toward decolonization.

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