CFP for Studies in American Indian Literatures Special Issue: “Sovereign Histories, Gathering Bones, Embodying Land.”

This special issue of Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL) was inspired by the fourth annual gathering of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA), entitled “Sovereign Histories, Gathering Bones, Embodying Land,” which was held at First Nations University of Canada, oskana kâ-asastêki, Treaty 4 Territory, in May 2018. Responding to Leanne Simpson’s notion of “placing bodies back on the land,” we invite contributors to consider her contention that “resurgence happens within Indigenous bodies and through the connections we make to each other and our land.”1 Further connected to this notion is Eric Gansworth's idea of "sovereign bones": "Even as flesh fails, we understand that the parts of us we leave behind are the support structures. Those elements of our beings, stolen for so many generations, like voices, ideas, cosmologies, come back to us – those sovereign bones.”2 How might such sovereignties be remembered, embodied, or gathered through Indigenous literary writings, readings, and practices?

Seeking to catalyze and continue the conversations developed at that event, Studies in American Indian Literatures invites submissions that explore new ways of thinking about Indigenous literary arts and community engagement. Imagining literary creativity expansively, we welcome work that engages with literature, film, theatre, storytelling, song, hip hop, and other forms of narrative expression. We invite submissions by scholars, knowledge-keepers, artists, and community members that consider questions pertaining to explore the connections between sovereignty, gathering, and embodiment in Indigenous literatures, and how these function as carriers of memory and knowledge. We welcome academic papers, as well as creative critical pieces in alternative formats, for potential inclusion in a print issue of the journal.

While open to all submissions dealing with Indigenous literary arts, we encourage work that engages with the following topics:

  •  Land-based Sovereignties, Pedagogies, and the Literary Arts

  •  Applied Literature and Community Healing

  •  Kinship and Community Responsibility

  •  Indigenous Ways of Knowing

  • Embodied Forms of Resurgence

  •  Literary Methods and Indigenous Protocols

  •  Oral Traditions and Material Cultures

  •  Indigenous Performance Arts

  •  Collaborative Creation and Multi-Media

  •  Two-Spirit and Queer Indigenous Critical Ecologies

  •  Land, Stories, and Narrative Arts as Praxis

  •  Urban Indigenous Communities and the Literary Arts

  •  Artistic Expressions of Sovereignty and Self-Determination

    The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2019. All papers submitted will undergo a formal peer review process through Studies in American Indian Literatures. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 8th ed.) Articles should be 6000- 8000 words in length, including notes and works cited. Articles should not include any identifying information. Please attach separately a short bio (50-100 words) that includes your relevant affiliations and preferred contact information.

    Proposals and any questions should be sent to all three guest editors listed below.

    Guest Editors:

  • Michelle Coupal (

  • Sarah Henzi (

  • Aubrey Hanson (


  • 1 See interview with Leanne Simpson: glen-coulthard-on-dechinta-bush-university-indigenous-land-based-education-and-embodied-resurgence/

    2 Eric Gansworth (ed), Sovereign Bones: New Native American Writing. Nation Books, 2007: p.5