Call for Papers

The Imaginary Indian: The Images, Stereotypes and Perceptions of North American Indigenous Populations in Central Europe

August 29th to August 31st, 2018
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

An International Conference and Collaboration of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies and the Wirth Alumni Network


“The Imaginary Indian: The Images, Stereotypes and Perceptions of North American Indigenous Populations in Central Europe” is a joint conference organized by the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta and the Wirth Alumni Network (WAN). With this conference we wish to honor and celebrate 20 years of Central European scholarship and research of the Wirth Institute at the University of Alberta with a topic that invites Central European scholars to engage in a discourse, which is not only important to Canadian society and culture, but one which also demands critical attention and discourse. We encourage a dialogue between scholars, both Central European and international, to explore as broadly as possible the topic of the images, stereotypes and perceptions of the North American Indigenous populations as seen from a Central European perspective. We particularly wish to explore this complex theme in the context of “the other”, “otherness” and “othering” and understand it within the greater discussion of marginalized societies, inclusiveness and belonging. Inspired by the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action” and in the spirit of reconciliation, we seek to contribute to the academic discussions and scholarship on the topic and encourage a deeper appreciation and a better understanding of aboriginal cultures and indigenous populations, not only in Canada, but internationally as well.


Examples of topics of presentation may include, while not being limited to, the following:

• Indigenous literary myths (fiction, travel literature, children’s literature, etc.)
• Indianthusiasm in a Central European Context
• The Imagined Wild West
• The Image of the Noble Savage
• Cultural Appropriations
• Stereotypical Images of the North American Indian by white European colonizers
• Communist Interpretations of Aboriginal Peoples and Cultures
• Political implications of the false imagery
• Education and its influence on the image of “the Indian”
• post-contact Indigenous histories
• Indigineous images expressed through art and visual culture
• Seeking the Indian Experience - Indigenous Tourism
• Religion and its role in the stereotype and mis(understanding) of aboriginal culture
• The role of education in understanding of Indigenous populations

We especially welcome comparative and inter-/transdisciplinary perspectives. We encourage presentations from all disciplines and fields of scholarship, including history, literature, music, pedagogy, art history, political science, anthropology, religious studies, cultural studies, philology, linguistics, etc.

We are inviting submissions for both individual papers and pre-constituted panels for presentations. Abstracts should be a maximum of 300 words in length. In addition, please include a short biographical note (approximately 100 words). Presentations should be no more than 20 min in length. Papers will have the opportunity to be published in a peer-reviewed volume. We welcome submissions from graduate students and early career scholars.

Please note that travel and accommodation subsidies are available to participants of this conference. Please notify us of your intention to request a travel subsidy in your submission. 

Deadline for abstracts: April 23rd, 2018
Notification of acceptance: May 11th, 2018

Send in your submissions to:

Click here to download the Call for Papers