If you are interested in the topics of Indigenous Studies in the context of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, this is a wonderful opportunity to share your work with a collective of like-minded scholars! The Graduate Initiative for Indigenous Studies in Russia (GIISR) has organized a stream on “Indigenous Possibilities in Post-Russian Spaces” for the AATSEEL 2023 conference (many thanks to my co-organizers: Hilah Kohen, Brian Yang, and Anna Gomboeva).

Stream description:

Indigenous Possibilities in Post-Russian Spaces

Across geopolitical contexts, critical Indigenous theory has forced a shift beyond metaphors of “decolonizing” academic work (Tuck and Yang 2012; Alekseeva 2019). Scholar-activists have instead pursued projects that act on institutional and economic reality to move toward a post-colonial-capitalist world (Dzhabbarova 2022). However, in most cases, these projects engage communities subject to Euro-US colonization separately from communities facing Russian colonization and colonial forces in Eurasia more broadly. Exceptions to this rule, such as the Arctic Council’s language revitalization initiatives and Soviet-era collaborations among Indigenous thinkers, demonstrate the potency of co-opting academic institutions to connect decolonial movements inside and outside Russian state control (Grenoble 2021, Kuznetsov 2020, Balthaser 2020). If the US-based field currently known as Russian Studies is to contribute to these connections, it must embrace the affordances of “Indigeneity” despite the complexities of translating that term in Eurasia. This stream, therefore, proposes a reframing of Russian Studies away from its imperial/colonial center and toward a focus on Indigenous realities and imaginations, particularly imaginations of post-Russian local worlds. As the Russian Federation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine brings ideas of defederation into public discourse, how can academic and cultural workers help create worlds that outlive Russian dominance? Stream participants might actualize this question in any of its disciplinary valences, from transnational organizing strategies and language curriculum design in the present day to analyses of cultural and political history that can shape decolonial action. While some participants may offer position papers on overarching terminological questions of Indigeneity in Eurasia, others will center specific communities, texts, and practices to elucidate the implications of Indigenous Studies frameworks in territories under past and present Russian control, as well as in transcontinental networks of relation involving these territories.

This stream will consist of two research panels and a roundtable on decolonial pedagogy.

Works Cited

  • Alekseeva, Sasha. 2019. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Strelka Institute, February 8.
  • Balthaser, Benjamin. 2020. “From Lapwai to Leningrad: Archie Phinney, Marxism, and the Making of Indigenous Modernity.” Ab Imperio 2020 (1): 39–58.
  • Dzhabbarova, Egana. 2022. Dekolonial’nost’: nastoiashchee i budushchee. Sbornik statiei. Moscow: Gorizontal’.
  • Grenoble, Lenore A. 2021. “Learning Even and Evenki in the Northern Linguistic Landscape.” In Kohen, Hilah, Irina Sadovina, Tetyana Dzyadevych, Dylan Charter, Anna Gomboeva, Lenore A. Grenoble, Jessica Kantarovich, and Rossina Soyan. “Teaching and Learning Indigenous Languages of the Russian Federation.” Russian Language Journal / Русский Язык 71 (3): 89–115.
  • Kuznetsov, Igor. 2020. “Archie Phinney, A Soviet Ethnographer.” Ab Imperio 2020 (1): 59–74.
  • Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1 (1): 1–40.

The event will take place online in February and you will be able to participate regardless of your geographical location.

We are very much interested in a diverse range of topics and welcome all contributions.

Please consider applying and feel free to reach out if you have any questions! The deadline for abstract submission is August 15th. You can sublit your abstract via the AATSEEL website.