(ALA Symposium, Chicago, May 26-29) Indigeneity and Indigenous Americans in Early Black Atlantic Thought

deadline for submissions: 
January 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Ray Leonard


This panel is looking for papers that explore how early Black Atlantic authors and thinkers considered their relationship to indigenous peoples in the Americas, as well as their (dis)identifications with indigeneity as both a concept and subject position. In the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth-Century, Black people positioned themselves within the ongoing history of new world colonialism and settler colonialism in different ways- and for different purposes. In the Haitian declaration of independence, Jean Jacques Dessalines declared “I have saved my country…I have avenged America.” Ottobah Cugoano looked to the wars of Spanish conquest in Peru to model his apocalyptic vision of a massive Atlantic slave insurrection. John Marrant drew on Captain John Smith’s colonial romance to frame his captivity among the Cherokee. Proposals might also consider instances, narratives or even genres of black and indigenous encounter in early America, such as Phillis Wheatley’s letter to Samson Occum or Equiano and the Miskito Indians. They might further expand on the ongoing work investigating the distinct, if intwined, operations of slavery, colonialism, and settler-colonialism as systems of dispossession. Finally, proposals could introduce more of a dialogue to the panel by including indigenous perspectives on blackness, Black people and slavery in Early America.