CFP: Genealogy special issue “Decolonizing Ways of Knowing: Heritage, Living Communities, and Indigenous Built Environments”

This special issue of Genealogy invites essays on the topic, “Decolonizing Ways of Knowing: Heritage, Living Communities, and Indigenous Built Environments.” Manuscripts may focus on all aspects of heritage, heritage preservation, and traditions of knowing and engaging the past in the present. The “State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2016” report, published by the Minority Rights Group International (MRG), emphasized the close interconnections between culture and nature, the relationship between people and places, and that these associations are particularly relevant to indigenous communities. We invite contributions that imagine possibilities and associations that mark our humanity cross-culturally including practices of honoring the dead, worshiping/acknowledging ancestors, tracing kinship/genealogical associations, transmitting local histories and knowledge of place, and creating shared identity through oral history and storytelling. There are, of course, associated tensions. As Michael Brown points out, “Cultural heritage, whether embodied in places or stories, is a shape-shifting, protean thing whose contours may be contested even by those who create it” (Brown 2014: 178). With these tensions in mind, we also invite contributions focusing on the ethics of the uses of heritage, including the preservation of heritage resources as commodities and as markers of cultural identity within indigenous communities.

In “Decolonizing Ways of Knowing,” we seek to investigate critical genealogies of settler colonialism, and ask, “What can genealogy studies learn from other conceptions of family history as well as family history preservation and transmission practices cross-culturally?” We are interested in how cultural groups situated outside of Western paradigms have conceived genealogy, and how these ways of knowing can challenge us to think differently about conceptions of time, create deeper dialogues between the living and the dead, and tend to our connections to place. In Benin and Nigeria, for instance, Egungun festivals call forth the spirits of the ancestors in masquerades where the living are confronted with past lives. In Australia, many indigenous communities have conducted genealogy as part land rights claims, but their claims are also directly related to their custodianship of sacred sites that are part of the Dreaming—a time outside of time—that informs cosmology and kinship. Traditionally, the names and pictures of the dead, precious to other cultures, may not be spoken of or viewed. Many documentaries now begin with a warning: “This book may contain names and images of Aboriginal people now deceased.”

For this special issue we invite contributions that showcase the diverse ways that information, knowledge and stories are shared between generations (i.e., practice and performance); examine issues of positionality with respect to knowledge production (reflexivity); and critique relations or systems of power (critical theory/embodied knowledge). At its core, the contributions will contribute to the process of decolonization:

The divestment of foreign occupying powers from Indigenous homelands, modes of government, ways of caring for the people and living landscapes, and especially ways of thinking. For non-Indigenous individuals, decolonization work means stepping back from normative expectations… [Duarte & Belarde-Lewis 2015: 678-679]

We hope to attract a broad audience both within and outside academic institutions and encourages dialogue in multiple forms. We seek to broaden the framework for genealogy studies and welcome your creative works including scholarly research papers, reports, interviews, field notes, visual productions, poetry, prose, drawings, and descriptions of community engagement, rituals, and heritage preservations activities. We encourage submissions that address topics including, but not limited to the following:

Critical genealogies that decolonize knowledge production
Critical genealogies of settler colonialism
Cross-cultural family history-making practices
Totem identities and knowledge transfer
Ancestral worship—performance and practice in public and private settings
Critical investigations into the construction of local histories
Collaborative cultural heritage preservation with living communities
Multi-media memory work
Intergenerational communication and knowledge transfer
Critical pedagogies of place that connect global processes to local histories.
Ethics of heritage preservation and cultural appropriation
Thank-you! We look forward to receiving your works on this topic.

Dr. Antoinette Jackson
Ms. Rachel Breunlin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Critical family history
radical humanism and memory work
decolonizing knowledge
ancestral worship
clans and totem associations
cultural heritage ethics


For the instruction for the authors, please visit the journal website:

When your paper is ready, please submit it to the editorial office’s online system via the following link (but you need to register on the
MDPI website ( first and then use the link):

Contact Info:
Anyone wants to submit Please contact Guest Editors Dr. Antoinette Jackson (, Ms. Rachel Breunlin (, or journal managing editor Ms. Allie Shi (

Contact Email:

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