CALL FOR PAPERS: Decolonizing Museums, Collections and Archives in Postcolonial and Indigenous Literatures in English

CFP: Decolonizing Museums, Collections and Archives in Postcolonial and Indigenous Literatures in English

For a special issue of ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature

Guest editor : Laura Singeot (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France)

This special issue of ARIEL examines how postcolonial and Indigenous writers have been writing about museums and collections and how they have been reinventing archival methods. Contemporary literature exposes and displays the museum’s colonial roots, while placing the original processes of alienation, displacement, trauma, and commodification at the centre of knowledge creation. On the one hand, these literary works investigate the museum as it was first conceived, highlighting its limitations and, in some cases, its perduring coloniality. On the other hand, these literary works imagine the future of the museum, restoring Indigenous voices and narratives to the centre of curatorial practices.

We invite articles offering transdisciplinary, diachronic, or comparative perspectives on this topic. Contributors may want to consider literary works through the prism of visual studies, history, or even anthropology, while drawing on museum as well as Indigenous and post/decolonial studies. Authors can consider a wide array of genres (novels, short stories, comics/graphic novels, poetry, theatre). Possible topics of articles may include but are not limited to the following:

  • The representation of museums/ collections/ archives in literature: from colonial beginnings to postcolonial critique; figures of the artist/ collector/ curator/ archivist in literature, or the author as a curator/ collector/ archivist.
  • Literature as a museum: literature that displays the representations of the Other and contemporary critiques of museums and anthropology; Indigenous literature as an alternative to the colonial museum.
  • The literature of display: the ekphrastic dimension of literature; inspiration from objects or texts held and stored in museums or in archives; the reappropriation of art practices in literature.
  • A literature of multiple returns: literary depictions of the repatriation of objects, human remains, and stories; commodification, construction of authenticity and remediation.
  • Writing Indigenous epistemologies and knowledges: the Indigenous or post/decolonial rewriting of archives and knowledges; Indigenous archives.


Please submit a 300-500 word abstract, together with a short biographical note (no more than 100 words) to the guest editor, Laura Singeot at by May 1, 2024. Full essays (6000-9000 words) will be due by November 1, 2024.