vendredi 17 février 2012

‘Ego-Histoire’, Europe and Australian Indigenous Studies: call for articles

This book aims at bringing together the ‘ego-histories’ of Indigenous scholars working on European and Australian studies as well as those of settler and European scholars working in the field of Indigenous Australian Studies. ‘Ego-histoire’, a term introduced by the French historian Pierre Nora in the collection Essais d’ego Histoire (Gallimard, 1987), works at the intersection of personal memory and public history. Nora ambitiously claimed ego-histoire as a ‘new genre, for a new age of historical consciousness’. Major figures such as Georges Duby, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Mona Ozouf, Maurice Agulhon, Jacques Le Goff and Annie Kriegel are among the twenty or more prominent French scholars who have engaged in book length projects in this area. The works of key thinkers including Bourdieu and Lacan draw from this approach. The collection ‘European Egohistoires: Historiography and the Self, 1970-2000’, edited by Luisa Passerini and Alexander Geppert (special issue of Historien: A Review of the Past and other Stories, 2001) established ego-histoire as a new European tradition.

In Australia Indigenous Australian writers, playwrights, cultural custodians and historians have led the field in using life-story work to convey history. This has resulted in a double-sided effect: on the one hand, these life histories provide highly valuable Indigenous perspectives on Australian history, colonialism, cross-cultural history and Indigenous history; on the other hand, they expose Indigenous lives to an extent that is hardly comparable to that of non-Indigenous scholars. Yet the life experiences and social background of non-Indigenous scholars in Australia exert an important influence on their scholarship—what has driven them to engage in the field of Indigenous Studies and how do they relate their ‘selves’ to their studies?

Moreover, the expectation that Indigenous scholars will share about their lives has led to the paradox of them being thought to write only about ‘Indigenous’ issues. Indigenous perceptions on European history have thereby often been neglected—what motivates Indigenous intellectuals to write about Europe and how do they relate their ‘selves’ to such studies? Finally, there are some European scholars who, with considerable geographical distance, have been working on Australian Indigenous Studies—what is their incentive to research in Indigenous Studies and how do they relate their ‘selves’ to their studies? The focus on writing the self and other provides a methodologically innovative tool to understand the mechanisms and different power relations in scholarship. Our project conceives of Indigenous Studies as a transnational affair and as such offers fresh perspectives on national discourses and cultural categories such as ‘race’, ‘gender’, ‘sexuality’, ‘class’ and ‘whiteness’ in Europe and Australia.

This call for articles builds on an international conference held at the University of Paris XIII in December 2011, and is addressed especially, but not exclusively, to Indigenous scholars working on Australian history or on Europe, or drawing on European anti-colonial theorists from Fanon to Spivak and beyond. ‘Europe’ and ‘Australia’ are considered not only as a geographical place but as a set
of ideas.

Possible themes include but are not limited to ‘ego-histoire’ and:
- Perspectives on the European presence on Indigenous lands
- Indigenous experiences in Europe
- Indigenous perceptions of Europe past and present
- Indigeneity and research on European history (including the European expansion into Australia)
- Similarities and differences with Indigenous and/or ethnic groups in Europe (e.g., the Sámi People, Romany and Sinti People)
- Inter-generational changes in Indigenous ideas of Europe and Europeans

The volume will be edited by Vanessa Castejon, Anna Cole, Oliver Haag and Karen Hughes. It will be published by the Biographical Lives Series, ANU E Press and all chapters will be peer-reviewed. Please submit abstract of approximately 200 words in length by 16 March 2012 to or Detailed information about style guide and length of chapters will be conveyed once acceptance of individual abstracts has been communicated.

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