The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (founded 1976) is pleased to announce the subject of its 2023 gathering, Indigenous Histories in New England: Pastkeepers and Pastkeeping, to be held June 23–24, 2023.
Three decades have passed since the 1993 publication of the Seminar’s proceedings Algonkians of New England. Over that space of time, both the study of Indigenous histories in the region (encompassing present-day New England and adjacent areas of New York and Canada), and understanding of the memory work of pastkeepers and pastkeeping, have been transformed. The 2023 Seminar Indigenous Histories in New England: Pastkeepers and Pastkeeping will explore long traditions of Indigenous pastkeeping and the wide variety of ways in which Native peoples have stewarded history and memory.
The Seminar invites proposals for papers that focus on addressing the gaps in Indigenous voice and visibility in public views of the past. We wish to critically consider who has claimed responsibility for “keeping” the Indigenous past in New England, including how it has been represented (for better or worse), how historical research can be decolonized and improved, and what museums and tribal nations have done to engage the public in better understandings.
Papers offering historical perspective might explore, for instance:
- Indigenous forms of memory-making and pastkeeping, on landscapes and in oral tradition
- Native American authors of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century, including autobiography and tribal histories
- collections of material culture; histories of tribal museums
- repatriation and cultural recovery
- language reclamation
- artwork as vehicles for historical reflection
The Seminar will give particular attention to the work of museums, archives, historic preservation organizations, cultural centers, and initiatives that over the past thirty years have worked to provide more holistic and inclusive representations of regional Indigenous peoples and histories.
The Seminar will convene in Deerfield, Massachusetts. This will be a hybrid program, with both on-site and virtual registration options for attendees. Speakers will present on site at Historic Deerfield.
The conference program will consist of approximately seventeen lectures of twenty minutes each. Dublin Seminar presenters are expected to submit their papers (approximately 7000 words) for consideration to the Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar by June 16, 2023. The scholarship proposed should be unpublished and available for inclusion in this volume to be published about eighteen months after the conference.
To submit a proposal, please send (as a single email attachment, in MS Word or as a PDF, labeled LASTNAME.DubSem2023) a one-page prospectus that describes the paper and the archival, material, or visual sources on which it is grounded followed by a one-page vita or biography. Email email@example.com. Deadline: Noon EST Friday, March 3, 2023. For more information on the Dublin Seminar, see https://dublin-seminar.org/.
Special thanks to our partner and host, Historic Deerfield, and to all our sponsors:
• American Antiquarian Society
• Amherst College Library
• Boston University American and New England Studies Program
• Smith College Department of History
• University of Massachusetts Department of History
• University of Massachusetts Public History Program
[The photograph at the top of this page shows Stephanie Mach (Diné), Curator of North American Ethnographic Collections at the Peabody Museum, in conversation with a reenactor at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. Photograph courtesy of Dr. Margaret Bruchac.]