NAISA 2023 Tkaronto Graduate Student Pre-Conference Gathering

Call for Papers

NAISA 2023 Tkaronto Toronto
Tkaronto CIRCLE Lab

The Local Host Committee of the 2023 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Annual Meeting and the Tkaronto CIRCLE Lab announce a Pre-Conference Gathering for Indigenous, Black-Indigenous, and Black Graduate Students on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. This gathering will be at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto/Tkaronto, preceding the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association 2023 Annual Meeting (May 11-13).


Black & Indigenous Theories of Change in Research


Attending to the longstanding relationship between Indigenous, Black, and Black-Indigenous peoples in Tkaronto, as well as our resistances and collaborations, we invite papers that center Black & Indigenous Theories of Change in Research. This pre-conference will be an opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and Black-Indigenous graduate students to think explicitly, and alongside one another, about the theories of change informing their research. The theme of this pre-conference is a student-led response to the themes of Unangax̂ scholar, Eve Tuck’s (2022) short essay that asks, What is your Theory of Change These Days? This pre-conference will be a time to carefully attend to this question and nurture one another’s theories of change. By acknowledging our theories of change and sharing them with each other, we can actively refuse what Tuck identifies as the default, colonial, and antiblack theories of change often undergirding academic research.


We invite Indigenous, Black, and Black-Indigenous graduate students to share the theories of change you have learned within and alongside your communities and academic disciplines. In other words, we want to know how you understand social change to happen and what this means for the futures you desire to bring about in your work. We welcome applicants to reflect on the theory of change that shapes your thinking, practice, research and/or social theorizing. We ask graduate students to share how your theories of change are relational, which means emphasizing how change is generated in relation to one another, Indigenous and/or Black people and communities, land, waters, place, and/or more-than-human beings.


Please read the guidelines below and submit your 250 word abstract to this google form by Monday, February 28, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST. Any questions can be sent to


All those accepted to the graduate student pre-conference program will be notified by the end of the first week of March 2023. Registration will be available in mid-March 2023.


As graduate student hosts, we are looking forward to learning about your theories of changes and collaborations.


This gathering is organized by Indigenous and Black graduate students and facilitated by:

Tkaronto Collaborative Indigenous Research for Communities, Land and Education (CIRCLE) Lab.


Guidelines for Preparing Abstracts for NAISA 2023 Graduate Student Pre-Conference


Please ensure you read and consider these instructions before submitting your abstract:


  • The title (15 word limit) should succinctly describe the topic of your presentation
  • Multi-authored works are welcome and encouraged
  • All authors must be graduate students who are Indigenous, Black, or Black-Indigenous
  • Abstract: 250-word limit
  • It is a paper that can be delivered in a 15-minute presentation


Presenting the ideas encompassed by an entire book manuscript or dissertation project is not possible in 15 minutes. If you are working on a large project, focus your proposal on a chunk of it. It takes 2-3 minutes to read a double-spaced page. Practice and time yourself in advance to ensure you do not exceed the time allocated for your presentation. Student organizers will review the paper proposals to determine fit with the pre-conference themes, as described above. Please speak directly to themes in your abstract.


Please avoid discipline-or area-specific jargon or terminology. NAISA is broadly interdisciplinary, international, and includes community-based as well as academic-based scholars. When specialized terms are needed, please define them within the abstract.


The abstract should answer the following questions:


  • What is your theory of change?
  • What people, communities, relations inform your theory of change?
  • Where is/are the geographic context(s), if applicable, to which your paper speaks?
  • What methods and materials are used?
  • Why are your questions, inquiries, or conclusions important?
  • What is this paper about?


We look forward to learning more about your theories of change!