Canadian Anthropological Society/Societée Canadienne d'anthropologie - 2021

Symposium: Matriculture

Call for Presentations

Symposium: Matriculture


Convenors: Angela Sumegi (Carleton) and Idoia Arana-Beobide (Network on Culture)Submission deadline: 27 January 2021

The mythologies of peoples around the world and their visions of the cosmos create a web of interconnections between people, environment, food, climate, life, and death. Plants, animals, sun and stars, rocks and rivers all have their stories, stories that permeate the culture and infuseeveryday life and values. Over centuries, despite long periods of colonization and patriarchalization, the woman-centered narratives that sustain a culture have endured, even if altered. In contemporary times, we are seeing a concerted effort in many communities to reclaim, revitalize, and at times even reinvent for future generations the ancient roots of their culture. In many instances, such re-emergence focuses on woman’s leadership and empowerment, particularly regarding the reclaiming of "mother right".

In a frame where matriculture is understood as a cultural system in the classical Geertzian senseof the term, this panel will explore the myths and legends which are found in matricultures around the world. We take it as a given that some cultures have a weakly defined matricultural system, while others, that have strong matricultural systems, express this strength in several ways – one of which is through myths and legends where the female role and/or the female world is primary.

This panel invites papers that address the engagements and entanglements reflected in the myths and stories of matricultures, and their contemporary manifestations. We are particularly interested in presentations that explore the original worldviews, myths and/or cosmology; renewed and contemporized versions of ancient rituals and ceremonies; as well as research thatbrings the two together.

Possibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Women-centered mythologies related to the environment
  • Cosmogonic myths and their influence in contemporary societies
  • The restoration/revitalization process bringing myths and stories into contemporary life
  • Myths and legends related to the ordering of family and household life
  • The effects of colonization and/or decolonization on the transmission of the foundational myths of a culture or community

Abstract submissions are invited of 250 words maximum.

Abstract submissions should be sent to Angela Sumegi ( or Idoia Arana-Beobide (

About Matrix

Matrix: a Journal for Matricultural Studies is an open access, peer-reviewed and refereed journal published by the International Network for Training, Education, and Research on Culture (Network on Culture), Canada. Matrix is published online twice yearly (May and November).

For many years, scholarship has explored the expression and role of women in culture from various perspectives such as kinship, economics, ritual, etc, but so far, the idea of approaching culture as a whole, taking the female world as primary, as a cultural system in Geertz’ classical sense of the term – a matriculture – has gone unnoticed. Some cultures have a weakly defined matricultural system; others have strong matricultural systems with various ramifications that may include, but are not limited to, matrilineal kinship, matrilocality, matriarchal governance features – all of which have serious consequences relative to the socio-cultural status of women, men, children, and the entire community of humans, animals, and the environment.

The main objective of Matrix is to provide a forum for those who are working from this theoretical stance. We encourage submissions from scholars from around the world who are ready to take a new look at the ways in which people, historically and currently, have organized themselves into meaningful relationships; the myths, customs, and laws which support these relationships; and the ways in which researchers have documented and perhaps mis-labeled the matricultures they encounter.

For more information, visit our website: