Mission Statement

Insurrect! is an online publication devoted to anti-colonial frameworks and critiques of racial capitalism in Early American Studies. Insurrect! publishes writing related to the historical and cultural legacies of colonialism in the Americas and Atlantic World, broadly defined. Our publications confront colonial violence, capitalism, and white supremacy in the present, and honor the legacy of anti-colonial movements in the history of the Americas. Insurrect follows the paradigm shifts of Black Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Disability Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Queer Theory, and serves as a resource for activists and educators who recognize that the historical and material conditions of the present are untenable. We prioritize the work of early career scholars or precarious scholars.

Insurrect! is committed to an unblinking confrontation with the power relations of settler mythmaking. For this reason, this publication centers Black and Indigenous liberation as anchored deep in the past. As the organizers and writers of Insurrect!, we recognize that activists and scholars have been writing and theorizing anti-colonial histories of the early Americas since the beginnings of European imperialism and settler colonialism in the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America. In short, we are—by far—not the first writers to elevate these ideas; however, we find it necessary to hold up Black and Indigenous liberation frameworks as an intervention into the more formal academic field of Early American Studies. 

Early American Studies has long been a prop for white nationalist fantasies of the United States as an imperialist project. For generations, literary scholars and historians have reproduced teleological stories of empire: that it was inevitable Indigenous peoples would lose their lands and cultures when confronted by European settlers, that slavery was an aberration or departure from modern “liberal” mores destined to win in the end, that the American imperialist settlements were established as progressive cities on a hill, and that American history could only have resulted in the rise of the United States as a global hegemon. In our current moment, the future of early American history and literary studies is threatened by austerity and colonial hagiographies, inside and outside of the academy. This blog is therefore not just for academics, but for a public eager for radical change in historical writing about the Americas. 

Insurrect! understands the history of African and Indigenous slavery in the Americas as both the crux upon which all threads of American history converge, but also as a history that fundamentally shapes how we read, write, and think in the present. The writing published here is an amicus brief in movements for justice; in sum, we offer revitalized ways of confronting the institutions and historiography that perpetuate violence and inequality in our present.