“Indigenous Futures & Medieval Pasts”

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
English Language Notes
contact email: 

English Language Notes Special Edition: “Indigenous Futures & Medieval Pasts”

Publication date: October 2020

Manuscript Submission Deadline: September 1, 2019



This special issue of ELN responds to the recent turn toward indigeneity in early medieval studies. Specifically, the issue seeks to create a space of mutuality in which generative conversations can take place across disciplinary boundaries between Indigenous studies and medieval scholars. The co-editors—Tarren Andrews and Tiffany Beechy—ask contributors and respondents to explore the stakes and impacts of partnerships between early medieval and Indigenous studies theories and methodologies.


About the editors

Tarren Andrews is a PhD student in the English department at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is from the Flathead Indian Reservation, and is a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes community member of matrilineal Salish descent.

Tiffany Beechy is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.



Across medieval studies, there has been a recent explosion of interest in Indigenous studies and indigeneity, spurred, in part, by the “global medieval” movement and critical race studies, but also by a deep investment in re-imaging the origins of medieval studies. Because Indigenous studies approaches critical race studies with a sense of recovering “what we have always done” from the wreckage of colonization, Indigenous scholars tend to imagine our/their way into a future that recaptures the past, an approach that holds promise for new understandings of the medieval period.  The editors see potential in an approach that views the past not as fons et origo but as inextricably woven into futurity.


Given that Indigenous peoples are among the most underrepresented groups in medieval studies, this engagement with Indigeneity requires a new kind of methodology, one grounded in extra-academic community praxis and dedicated to the ethos of Indigenous studies. In other words, we need to involve actual Indigenous people in our scholarship. To forgo these community-based practices and eschew the ethics attached to them is to view Indigenous studies, or Indigeneity, as merely a critical lens, abstracted from the tangible and lived experiences of (and consequences for) Indigenous scholars and our/their communities. It is the reality of most Indigenous peoples that we/they have to fight every day to be seen, heard, and understood as “present”—more than just relics of the past. There is a potential for reciprocity in the exchange between medieval and Indigenous studies insofar as Indigenous studies creates spaces for medieval studies to re-examine and redefine itself, while medieval studies presents an opportunity for Indigenous scholars to reconsider the political forces of the past that continue to shape all our futures. This special edition, then, asks participants to come together as a cross-cultural community to expand our networks of engagement, our modes of analysis, and our understanding of methodologies to discover the reciprocity at the center of medieval pasts and Indigenous futures.


This issue asks contributors across all disciplines to consider the following:


  • What is at stake for Indigenous peoples and Indigenous studies when we engage in or with medieval studies?
  • What kind of Indigenous future is gained when the medieval past is Indigenized, seen not as proper to a European lineage but rather as tributary to many people’s histories across the globe?
  • Is Indigeneity a proper category for the medieval period?  Is this a different question in relation to Europe than it is in relation to the rest of the world?
  • What does it mean for medieval studies to be held accountable by contemporary and ancestral communities of Indigenous people whose lives and deaths have created Indigenous studies as we understand it today?
  • Is medieval studies’ current interest in Indigenous studies fleeting? If so, how do we approach Indigenous studies in an effective and ethical way? If not, how do we re-invent our praxis and ethos to account for the vulnerability of our Indigenous partners?
  • In what ways does Indigenous studies allow us to re-imagine, re-encounter, re-contextualize medieval pasts? In what ways does it prevent us from doing so?
  • While benefits to medieval studies might seem rather obvious in this exchange, how does this unlikely pairing create new spaces and new ways of understanding the future of Indigenous studies and for Indigenous communities?
  • What does it mean to radically re-think the discipline and methodology of medieval studies alongside Indigenous studies, especially given the field’s very formation within the nationalist, colonizing projects that have impacted Indigenous communities?
  • For those of us who are Indigenous studies scholars, how do we engage in a field so incredibly different from our own? What evidence do we use? How do we begin to interrogate the early medieval archive?


Essays of twenty to twenty-five manuscript pages are invited from scholars in all fields.


Essays will be reviewed by external readers. All submissions should adhere to the Chicago-style endnote citation format. Please submit double-spaced, 12-point font, .docx files and submissions to our Editorial Manager site: http://www.edmgr.com/eln/. Please omit identifying information from all pages except the cover page, as we use a blind review process.  Please send inquiries regarding this issue to the editors: tarren.andrews@colorado.edu and tiffany.beechy@colorado.edu



Deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.