About

The ‘Indigenous studies discussion group’ at the University of Cambridge is a graduate-led network that aims to (1) promote scholarship by and about Indigenous Peoples across disciplines and spaces to be a regular feature of the intellectual life of Cambridge and (2) promote the sharing and discussion of insights and ideas pertaining to Indigenous studies across peoples, disciplines, times and geographies.

Sign up for the network’s mailing list on the ISDG website.

For enquiries contact the Networks programme manager.

 

All of ISDG's posters on one page

Supported by CRASSH and co-sponsored by Cambridge Heritage Research Centre (CHRC)

Convenors

Convenors

  • Leanne Daly (PhD candidate in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Gonville & Caius College)
  • Christos Nikolaou (PhD candidate, University of Cambridge)
  • Joseph Powell (PhD candis in the final stages of his PhD in Theology within the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge
  • Benny Q. Shen (MPhil Archaeology, University of Cambridge)

Leanne Daly has completed a BA in Archaeology at the University of Toronto (2018) and an MPhil in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge (2019). Her MPhil dissertation, ‘Catching Shadows: The Exhibition of Intangible Heritage of Oceania in Lisa Reihana’s in Pursuit of Venus [infected]’, was selected as one of 2019’s top dissertations from the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre. In 2020, she began her PhD research focusing on challenging extinction discourse through the repatriation of Indigenous human remains of the ostensibly extinct Beothuk people of Newfoundland, Canada.

Christos Nikolaou is originally from Cyprus, and has a keen interest in the archaeology of religion and ethnicity due to his upbringing in a country at the intersection of three continents and populated by many ethnic groups. He did his undergraduate in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge,  and his Master’s in Archaeology at University College London. His Master’s Thesis was on religious hybridity in the Gandhara Palettes, where he argued that elite habitus demonstrated in the palettes was a unique production based on eclectic use of markers from the Iranian, Greek and Indian cultural vocabularies.
His PhD Thesis focuses on the Hellenistic Far East regions of Bactria and Gandhara. He investigates the role of religion and its manifestations in urban landscapes, specifically with regards to religious hybridity and patronage, especially between Iranian, Hellenic and South Asian religious traditions.  He is specifically drawing upon material and methodology from Classics, Indology and Iranian Studies, as well as Marxism, Religious and Post-Colonial Studies to understand the dynamics in the region. He aims to contribute to conversations on globalization and multiculturalism, as well as religious studies via his Thesis.

Joseph Powell is in the final stages of his PhD in Theology within the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge where his research primarily explores Rastafarian spirituality, theology and ecotheology. Joseph’s PhD dissertation explores the environmental worldviews of Rastafarian communities in St Lucia through ethnographic fieldwork, whilst his MPhil research, also within the Faculty of Divinity, explored Rastafarian dietary practices through fieldwork in Jamaica and the UK. Joseph has had several articles published in leading international journals including Black Theology and Nova Religio, as well as an upcoming paper exploring Rastafari attitudes towards Covid-19 in the Caribbean Studies Association Journal. During his time in Cambridge Joseph also served as editor for the Faculty journal Noesis, and now serves as editor for the international open access Methodist praxis journal Holiness.

Benny Q. Shen is a MPhil Archaeology student at University of Cambridge with a specific interest in the archaeology and anthropology of sub-Saharan. His MPhil dissertation work focuses on the reassessment of current approaches in the archaeology of apiculture from the angle of Indigenous beekeeping practices in East Africa. He received his B.A. in Archaeology and Anthropology from IoA, UCL where he was awarded the Peter Ucko Prize for Anthropology and Archaeology and the Jonathan Lowe Prize for work in Palaeoecology. He worked as a field archaeologist for UCL Archaeology South-East in the commercial setting whilst also participated in a range of research excavations all over the world. From October 2022 he will be starting his PhD at Cambridge exploring the contemporary past of apicultural specialization among the Okieks on the Mau Escarpment, Kenya from an archaeological perspective.

Co-Founders

  • Oliver Antczak (PhD candidate in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Downing College)
  • Nishant Gokhale (PhD candidate in Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, St John’s College)

Oliver Antczak is a Venezuelan and Polish anthropologist and archaeologist interested in the intersection between heritage and identity, particularly in the Caribbean. He received his B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from Leiden University College (2016) and an MPhil in Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies, at the University of Cambridge (2018). His current PhD research, supported by the ESRC and Gates Cambridge, focuses on understanding how heritage is used in the resurgence and maintenance of Indigenous identities in the Southern Caribbean, and his work is currently focusing on a collaborative and comparative approach to Trinidad, Margarita, and Bonaire.

Nishant Gokhale obtained his undergraduate degree in law and humanities at NUJS, Kolkata and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Before starting at Cambridge, Nishant worked for several years including as a judicial clerk at the Indian Supreme Court and as a litigator in criminal and capital cases. Nishant’s PhD research is about the British East India Company’s engagement with law at home and in India. Examining archival sources in the United Kingdom and India, his research delves into the Company’s project of legal ordering of the indigenous Bhil communities in Khandesh province (western India). His research examines the diverse manifestations of Bhil agency which resulted in the Company reordering itself at local levels. His research adds to the growing scholarly interest in the role that local and regional officers played in the project of legal ordering and will help situate indigenous communities in the imperial world of the 19th century. His research is chiefly supported by the Gates Cambridge Trust.

Faculty advisors

  • Dacia Viejo-Rose (Deputy Director, Cambridge Heritage Research Centre. Senior Lecturer in Heritage and the Politics of the Past, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge)
  • Susanna Rostas (Senior research associate in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
  • Hank Gonzalez (Lecturer in Caribbean History, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge)
  • Pedro Mendes Loureiro (Lecturer in Latin American Studies and PhD Director, Centre for Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge)

Affiliated Advisors

  • Jared Holley (Marie Curie Fellow in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) and Research Fellow in Humanities, Social, and Political Sciences at Sidney Sussex College)
  • Louis Klee (Junior Research Fellow in English, Clare College Cambridge)
  • Tanja Hoffmann (Affiliated Member, Cambridge Heritage Research Centre; Postdoctoral Researcher, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan; Lead Researcher, Indigenous Works)

Programme 2022 - 2023

Michaelmas Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity I: Pre-British empire
12 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity II: British empire and colonialism
26 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity III: The present day
9 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online
Film screening
23 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Alison Richard Building, SG2

Conference

More information about the conference on 22-23 September 2022: Indigenous studies in the United Kingdom & Europe: pasts, presents and futures

Indigenous Studies has been rapidly developing as a field which spans various geographies, temporalities and disciplines. Significant contributions to this field have come from Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, activists and community leaders who are both within and outside of academia. The Indigenous Studies Discussion Group (ISDG) is a multi-disciplinary award-winning Cambridge-based graduate student research network that has been operating in this field since 2019 with the aim of breaking disciplinary silos and creating a platform to discuss various critical themes emergent in Indigenous Studies.

The Indigenous Studies Discussion Group’s (ISDG) 2022 Conference will bring these strands of research together into an exciting two-day event with far reaching impacts. Since its inception in 2019, the ISDG has gained experience and skills in running global events and in doing so has attracted speakers and attendees from both within and outside of Cambridge and the United Kingdom.

Following on from our past work, the ISDG is hosting a conference entitled ‘Indigenous Studies in the United Kingdom & Europe: Pasts, Presents and Futures’ in September 2022. This conference seeks to bring together speakers — both Indigenous and non-Indigenous— across various sectors such as academia, media, activism and community leadership. This two day conference will provide a platform to bring together emerging Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and give attendees an opportunity to share their research whilst interacting with senior academics, activists and community leaders all through a critical engagement with the field of Indigenous Studies.

This conference seeks to delineate the field of Indigenous studies, its current manifestations and what issues and forms it may take in the years to come. In particular, we seek to interrogate what this discipline means in the context of the United Kingdom and Europe’s deep and complex relationship with Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world.

We have assembled panels and roundtable discussions on a wide variety of themes, including those on Indigenous heritage, politics, literature, digital humanities, media studies and more. Speakers and attendees from across the world will be able to join in person and/or via video conferencing. This broad-based participation not only from the UK and Europe but also from around the world provides a more holistic and representative picture of Indigenous Studies scholarship today.

Through this conference, we intend to critically examine both the rapidly growing field of Indigenous Studies as well as the United Kingdom’s and, more broadly, Europe’s role within this field. Additionally, we will examine the histories of these engagements as well as their present and future trajectories in the field. We aim to create a network of Indigenous Studies scholars and believe that by sharing research with each other, we will foster the sharing of best practices in the theory and the practical application of Indigenous Studies.

Past programme

Michaelmas Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity I: Pre-British empire
12 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity II: British empire and colonialism
26 Oct 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online
Discovering Britain through discourses of indigeneity III: The present day
9 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Online
Film screening
23 Nov 2022 14:30 - 16:00, Alison Richard Building, SG2

2021-2022

Easter Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Conservation and local populations: decolonising rights to nature in Africa
27 Apr 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Online

TBC

Wellbeing and the environment: traditional knowledge and the conservation of nature
4 May 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Darren J Ranco (Maine), Clint Carroll (Colorado)

Honey at the top (2015) – film screening and Q&A
18 May 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

Samuel Lunn-Rockliffe (UCL)

Engaging with myths of indigenous extinctions through museum collections
19 May 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Nicholas Thomas (Cambridge), Laura Van Broekhoven (Oxford)

Lent Term 2022

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Erasures and constructions of indigeneity: challenging perceptions of continuity and authenticity
9 Feb 2022 19:00 - 21:00, Online

Tony Castanha (Hawai’i), Keolu Fox (California San Diego), Zoe Rimmer (Tasmania), Theresa Sainty (Tasmania)

The Beothuk story – Film screening and Q&A
23 Feb 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Christopher Aylward (Ryerson), Chief Mi’sel Joe (Miawpukek First Nation), Carmen Bartlett

Native mascots and misappropriation of imagery: symbols and name changes following the Exeter Chiefs for Change Campaign
30 Mar 2022 19:00 - 20:00, Online
Indigenous studies discussion group: The present and future of community-based research
5 Apr 2022 17:00 - 18:30, Online event

Part of the Cambridge Festival 2022

Michaelmas Term 2021

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group
Accomplice, ally, or appropriator? Exploring boundaries of indigenous scholarship
13 Oct 2021 17:00 - 19:00, Online

Gabriela Ramos (Cambridge), Clifford Atleo (Simon Fraser), Rick Colbourne (Carleton), Constance Khupe (Witwatersrand)

Criminal justice and indigeneity: perspectives from India, Australia and New Zealand
27 Oct 2021 20:00 - 22:00, Online

Dakxhin Bajrange (India), Alison Whittaker (Sydney), Juan Tauri (Waikato)

Policing and victimisation of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities in the UK and Europe
10 Nov 2021 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Zoe James (Plymouth), Nichola Padfield (Cambridge)

Birth 1871 (2014) – film screening and Q&A
24 Nov 2021 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Dakxhin Bajrange (Filmmaker)

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