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Call for papers for a thematic issue of the Journal de la société des Océanistes 158 (2024-1): Indigenous sovereignties across the Pacific. Past, present and future

Edited by Diego Muñoz et Philipp Schorch and Alexander Mawyer

Addressing the question of Indigenous sovereignties, in the plural, involves thinking about multiple kinds of self-determination, governance and institutions of legitimacy within and outside the state, with scalar motions from the local to the global and temporal orientations from the past to the future. Indigenous sovereignties have been one of the main political claims at the center of decolonization processes, which grounds present demands in historical realities and mobilizes those towards new futures. The Pacific region, including its nexus with the Americas, offers a particularly diverse and dynamic context for analyzing different notions of state and Indigenous sovereignty. This region incorporates a range of political situations in a scenario of mostly unfinished decolonization: independent states with a colonial base (e.g. Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia), decolonized independent states (e.g. Fiji and Papua New Guinea), decolonizing territories (French Polynesia and New Caledonia), states in free association (e.g. Cook Islands and Niue), annexed territories (e.g. American Sāmoa and Rapa Nui), and territories under tutelage (e.g. Guam and Tokelau). Each of these situations allows us to interrogate Indigenous sovereignties in the face of state intervention and invites us to reflect upon the modalities and histories of the loss and achievement of sovereignty, as well as on the Indigenous ways of (re)creating sovereign practices, logics and institutions. What happens when sovereignty is analyzed with a focus beyond the geopolitical limits of the state towards, for example, trade activities, artistic expressions and aesthetic practices? What insights can be gained when the experiences of Indigenous peoples who have lost and regained sovereignty are studied? What are the Indigenous philosophies, practices, and institutions that forge sovereignty? And how does the question of sovereignty shape the future? This special issue proposes to address these questions. We set out to interrogate the articulation, performance and enactment of sovereignty, not only in the formation of states across the Pacific but also in the conceptualizations that Indigenous peoples of the region have developed in relation to the state and beyond. In doing so, we aim at inquiring into the competing, overlapping and often paradox affiliations underpinning Indigenous sovereignties, and into the forms and ways that decolonial Indigenous futures have been imagined from the past to the present.


For more details, please contact the scientific editors:

And the editorial board:

Timeline and guideline for submitting a paper

  • October 1, 2022: send to the scientific editors (see above) and to the JSO’s editorial board (, and a declaration of intent, including title and abstract (max. 1.000 characters including spaces).

  • January 31, 2023: send to the scientific editors (see above) and to the JSO’s editorial board the complete texts (max. 60.000 characters including spaces). Editing guidelines for authors are available on the JSO website,

  • February – April, 2023: review by the scientific editors

  • May 1, 2023: JSO’s editorial board will send the texts to external reviewers, and to the members of the editing committee.

  • September 1, 2023: JSO’s editorial board will send the evaluation, and the reviewed and edited texts to the authors.

  • January 1, 2024: Final version of the accepted texts to be sent to the editing committee. Beginning of editing process by the JSO’s editorial board.

  • The proofs are sent out between March and mid-April. The editorial board will not accept any corrections, illustrations, or figures submitted from April 1, 2024 onwards.

Date of publication: end of May 2024.

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