The Catastrophe of Contact: Surviving the Endless Aftermath in Indigenous Communities; ACLA 3/31-4/1 2012, Providence

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The Catastrophe of Contact: Surviving the Endless Aftermath in Indigenous Communities around the World

Organizer: Brenda Machosky, University of Hawai`i West O`ahu

From the perspective of the original inhabitants of places like Australia, the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, the greatest catastrophe of history was not marked by a natural disaster or cataclysmic event, but by the relatively quiet arrival of ships, the moment of contact with Europeans. Throughout history and around the world, similar stealthy catastrophes have been inflicted on one culture by another. This catastrophe of contact wreaks havoc and in most cases decimates the communities and cultural practices, the entire way of being of indigenous populations. For the survivors, the catastrophe seems not to end but only to change its form and appearance. And yet, the survivors survive, and they write, and they draw, and they sing, and they carve, and they preserve and evolve cultural traditions.

This seminar invites papers about how indigenous communities survive the continual catastrophe of contact and how indigenous writers and artists strive to effect change in its midst. Topics are not limited to literary or written forms but might also include dance, song and chant, carvings, and other rituals of cultural communication and community. Papers should include close and careful "reading" of literature, art and/or cultural practices of indigenous peoples. Papers can focus on the historical time of contact and colonialism or on more contemporary periods.

Please contact Brenda Machosky for more information:
You must submit an abstract through the ACLA Website by November 15.