Nomadism and Mobile Ways of Life in the Americas

Nomadism and Mobile Ways of Life in the Americas

Forschungsgesellschaft für den kontinentalamerikanischen und karibischen Raum (Society for the Study of Continental America and the Caribbean) of the KonaK Vienna; in cooperation with the Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanos y del Caribe (Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians)
Wiener Urania
From - Until
15.02.2012 - 17.02.2012
Christian Cwik

As organizer of the conference “Nomadism and Mobile Ways of Life in the Americas”, that will take place at the Vienna Urania from Wednesday 15th to Friday 17th of February 2012, the Forschungsgesellschaft für den kontinentalamerikanischen und karibischen Raum [Society for the Study of Continental America and the Caribbean] of the KonaK Vienna in cooperation with the Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanos y del Caribe [Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians] invites scholars to submit contributions in this connection. The conference wants to serve as a platform for the international exchange between scholars with regional focus on North/Cen¬tral/South America, Caribbean and/or the Atlantic World, who occupy themselves with the phenomena nomads, nomadism and mobile ways of life in a wider sense. Considering recent global developments (e.g. flows of refugees from zones of uprising and war in Northern Africa and the Middle East, or the expulsion of Rom by the French government), we think that thorough dealing with the historical and current situation in the Americas and the Atlantic area is urgently necessary.

The term nomadism shall be interpreted in a broad sense and includes its various forms, taking into account the change of time. We especially see ties to research on autochthonous, religious and ethnic minorities, gauchos/cowboys/vaque(i)ros/huasos/chinas, merchants, smugglers, pirates, bandits, ship crews, fugitive slave catchers, slave hunters, bandeirantes, vagabonds, squatters, landless, soldiers, guerilleros (combatants), rebels, slaves, forced laborers, maroons, scientists, explorers, diplomats, missionaries, gold prospectors (pork knockers), prostitutes, families, children, women, frontier, proto-states, military dictatorships and seas. In doing so, different perspectives should be chosen. In all reflections the role of seas and oceans should not be underestimated, for they have shaped specific forms of nomadism. How broad the term nomadism has to be defined in connection with the Americas and the Atlantic World – we think about the fluent transition to refugees and migrants – and how deep an impact the Neolithic Revolution has made in this connection will be pointed out in the course of the conference. Further core themes will be the analysis of interactions between nomads and resident population, of experiments of social disciplining of (allegedly) nomad autochthonous peoples that went as far as intentional genocide, as well as nomadism as a consequence of colonial power, slavery and/or ecological catastrophes. This will ask for a discussion about the motives and “voluntariness” or “involuntariness” of mobile ways of life in the area of tension between state and capitalism and shall bring new insights for the research of nomadism.

The conference is interdisciplinary and without restriction concerning the epoch. We invite presentations of ongoing or completed research works from the disciplines anthropology, archeology, ethnology, history, literature, political science, law, linguistics, economy, geography and sociology in colonial and postcolonial contexts and especially encourage junior scientists to participate. On the basis of case studies from different areas of the Americas and the Atlantic regional comparisons should be made possible. We will favor proposals that will treat less known regions and countries.


Each presentation should consist 20 minutes of speech and ten minutes for questions and discussion. The conference languages are English and Spanish. Interested scholars submit their proposals in the form of an abstract (max. 300 words) and a CV including publication list either in English or Spanish until 30th of October 2011 via e-mail to Christian Cwik. It is also possible to propose a whole panel (2-4 presentations). If it is not possible to adhere to the deadline, please contact us.

The attendance fee is EUR 80 for lecturers, USD 80 for lecturers and participants from countries of the South and EUR 40 for students and members and includes the inscription, all conference materials, admission to all lectures and presentations (including coffee breaks), exhibitions and inauguration ceremony, as well as a certificate of attendance. The conference website will be online by November 2011 and will provide information concerning program, journey and accommodation. Participants will be informed about changes and updates after subscribing to a mailing list.

We try hard to cover the costs of those lecturers, who are not aided financially by their home institutions via third party funds. The basis is the submission of all required data and material within the deadline. If your participation depends on financial aid, please inform us at the time of your application. Please keep in mind that our funds are limited and that we only accept funding applications from participants of countries of the South and female junior scientists who live outside of Vienna. For all other participants we cannot cover the costs of travel, accommodation and meals. Alternatively, participation via poster (format A0 or A1) should be considered.

The conference program is enriched by keynote lectures of outstanding scholars from the Americas and Europe. Poster and book presentations, sessions in which persons concerned speak about their lives as nomads, book and photo exhibitions as well as the inauguration ceremony with cultural program complete the conference program. All guests and their accompanying persons have the possibility to participate in organized excursions (field trips) through Vienna and its surroundings before and/or after the conference.

International Bank Account Number (IBAN): AT491400002010019314

Contact (announcement)

Christian Cwik

Albertus Magnus Platz, D-50923 Köln
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English, Spanish
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