Call for Papers: Colonization and domestic service

Colonization and Domestic Service: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives Research Symposium

Newcastle, Australia

16-17 July 2012

The aim of this symposium is to bring together scholars to share insights and to enter into a conversation about the connections between domestic service and colonization. We understand colonization to refer to the expropriation and exploitation of land and resources by one group over others, and to encompass imperial/extraction and settler modes of colonization, internal colonization and slavery, and present-day neocolonialism. This symposium will provide an opportunity to workshop individual papers in a collegial environment, drawing out key themes, topics and issues across different sites and times.  A selection of the workshopped papers will be included as peer-reviewed chapters in a book published by an international academic press.

The questions that are to be explored will include:

  • What is the relationship between domestic service and colonization, historically and into the present?
  • How do the experiences and patterns of domestic service connect with processes of dispossession, displacement, and invasion, and the social and cultural upheavals that such processes generate?
  • What is the relationship between colonization, and the gendering and racializing of domestic service?
  • Is there a difference between domestic service in settler and non-settler colonies? Have such differences affected contemporary domestic service patterns?
  • How has colonization impacted on domestic service not only in the places being colonized, but in the colonizing society “back home”?
  • What are the historical parallels and connections between domestic service under colonization, and the transnational nature of much domestic work today?
  • What was/is the impact of colonization on political organization, activism and resistance in domestic service?
  • How and why have colonizing regimes sought to manage domestic labour, and can we see similar or continuous developments in postcolonial states and neocolonial contexts? What are the implications for calls for government regulation of domestic work, particularly of migrant domestic work, today?

Up to 15 papers will be selected for presentation and roundtable discussion at a symposium to be held in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.  Participants will need to cover their own travel and accommodation costs, but there will be no registration fee for selected speakers or attendees.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor Mary Romero (Arizona State University) and Associate Professor Swapna Banerjee (Brooklyn College of CUNY).

Proposals should include a title, a 250-word abstract, a brief (one-page) CV and full contact details. They should be addressed no later than December 1, 2011 to:


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