Call for papers 2023

Decolonizing Urban Territories: Reimagining intercultural coexistence

The seminar is funded by ANID project PAI77200023

Abstract submission deadline
10 October

Acceptance of abstracts
20 October

Seminar dates
15-17 November

application form


This call for papers starts from the premise that colonialism was not an isolated event, but rather that today it is an active structure in many parts of the world (Wolfe, 2006). Currently we are experiencing a neocolonial pushback noticeable in the resurgence of nationalist ideologies, the rejection of recent plurinational proposals and the predominance of a logic of securitization. Last year in Chile, a proposed Constitution which would have replaced the dictatorship Constitution of 1980 was rejected. This rejection squashed the groundswell of a constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples and Chile’s (repressed) plurinationality that had been expected since the democratic transition. In Mendoza, Argentina, the House of Representatives declared the local Mapuche population illegal aliens in an outright attempt to further extractivist projects in their territories (Paredes, 2023). Currently in Chile, the Usurpation bill (Cardozo, 2023), known locally as the “anti-squatting law”, is being discussed in congress. The bill’s criminalization of squatters comes in response to a recent wave of international migration and efforts towards indigenous territorial recovery. In this way, indigenous peoples’ political struggles for cultural recognition are framed as criminal acts within these local states’ programs of multicultural assimilation. These conflicts that indigenous peoples face are not only for the allocation of resources. The problems are related to historical invisibility and violence and demand the restoration of collective dignity for indigenous peoples (Balbontin-Gallo, 2020).

A central way of understanding socio-territorial structures of indigenous peoples is through imaginaries, since through them territories can be understood and managed. Imaginaries can be understood as collective, self-managed, or state-led guiding images or acting representations (Hiernaux, 2007) that govern activities, practices, and decision-making processes. These imaginaries appear in different contexts and have a direct impact on people’s lifestyles. Since the colonial period, extractivist imaginaries have been dominant in Latin America. Then came national development imaginaries that sought to free indigenous populations from material and economic dependence. Urban imaginaries, strengthened by the widespread rural-urban migration of the mid-20th century, contributed to make the nation-state’s focus of development predominantly an economic one. Throughout this long historical evolution, European imaginaries have been seeking to whiten and sanitize both national and urban territories (Alvarado Lincopi, 2015). In this way, the imaginaries imposed by patriarchal, religious and neocolonialist systems have imposed the idea of a “correct way of life”. This spatial imposition not only produces multiple “others” in opposition to the mainstream norm, but also forces them into hiding. These racialized, marginalized, and vulnerable groups are continuously isolated and reduced through this homogenization of their distinct lifeworlds.

In opposition, emancipatory imaginaries have attempted to rearticulate hopes for a  coexistence that is very different from the deeply racist directions proposed by dominant imaginaries. Indigenous imaginaries continue to struggle against extractivist projects in their ancestral territories and against being made invisible in urban areas by proposing new forms of claim-making. We consider it crucial to inquire about the different imaginaries, especially the indigenous and emancipatory ones, that inform different alternatives and opportunities for co-constructing territories. This call for papers proposes there are at least three key dynamics to effectively incorporate indigenous peoples in the decision-making processes that affect them. These dynamics structure the thematic lines of the third version of this seminar:

Re/imagining planning and property

How does state-led planning relate to indigenous peoples?

How do indigenous peoples continue to plan for their urban or non urban territories?

How do indigenous peoples negotiate in the face of different legalities, regulations and forms of property imposed by the state?

How do indigenous peoples try to reactivate their own forms of property (understood as control over resources and land)?

Re/imagining forms / cultural expressions

How do architecture and modes of urban settlement relate to indigenous imaginaries in the city?

How do graphic design, audiovisual media and different cultural expressions propose to represent indigenous imaginaries?

How are orality and ancestral knowledge being reevaluated in the expression of current indigenous imaginaries?

Re/imagining inhabitance through intersectionality

How have neocolonial patriarchal systems subjugated other ways of inhabiting territories through racial, social and gender oppression? How are territories whitewashed and sanitized and how does the resistance of racialized groups reconfigure them? How does feminist resistance inhabit and subvert patriarchal territorial orders? How do people inhabit through dissidence? What does it mean to isolate oneself and deny one’s own identity/expression/orientation, in social and spatial realms?


Send contributions to application form by 10 October 

• Send queries regarding transportation and/or hotel financial support to

For researchers, send an extended abstract of no more than 500 words.

For other contributions, send an audiovisual file (no more than 10 minutes long). (Information)

Abstract/Audiovisual work submission deadline
10 October

Acceptance of abstracts
20 October

Seminar dates
15-17 November

Audiovisual contributions


Alvarado Lincopi, C. (2015). La Emergencia de la ciudad colonial en ngulu mapu: Control social, desposesión e imaginarios urbanos. En Antileo, E., Cárcamo-Huechante, L., Calfio, M. y Huinca-Puitrin, H. (Eds.), Violencias coloniales en Wajmapu (pp. 107-140). Comunidad de Historia Mapuche.

– Balbontin-Gallo, C. (2020). El conflicto mapuche como lucha por el reconocimiento: La necesidad de una nueva clave de lectura. Izquierdas, 49, 330-340. 

– Cardozo, G. (2023, 28 de abril). Comunicado: Pobladores y pobladoras contra la denominada “Ley maldita”. Revista De Frente. 

– Hiernaux, D. (2007). Los imaginarios urbanos: de la teoría y los aterrizajes en los estudios urbanos. EURE (Santiago), 33(99), 17-30.

– Palomino, S. (2023, 9 de mayo). La guardia indígena en Bogotá: “No sentimos rabia, hemos aprendido a resistir la discriminación. El País.

– Paredes, M. (2023, 30 de marzo). Absurdo y racista: aprueban “ley antimapuche” en Mendoza. IZQWEB.

– Wolfe, P. (2006). Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native. Journal of Genocide Research, 8(4), 387-409.