Volume 3, Issue 2 (Autumn 2023 / Winter 2024)

Call for Papers

Deadline for Abstract Submission : 15 October 2021 (now closed)

Theme: Warfare and Peacemaking Among Matricultural Societies

The view that ‘War is a game for men’ has been declaimed with loud voices – yet the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk) people, who have been described as the most fierce warriors of eastern North America, have a strong matriculture where the Clan Mothers nominate, install, and remove male Chiefs. Up to six thousand Fon women, known as Mino or ‘our mothers’, fought in the army of Dahomey until the early twentieth century. The matriarchal Minangkabau of Indonesia militarily resisted Dutch colonization for almost fifteen years and, over a century later, launched a guerilla-based civil war against the Sukarno government. Scythian warriors of the Ancient period were women as well as men, since horse-riding largely negates the advantages of upper body strength. Clearly, all around the world, these matricultural societies have not been strangers to war and violence, whether defensive or offensive, and many more examples could be provided. At the same time, some scholars claim that matricultural societies are, by definition, cultures of peace.

What are the strategies, means, and types of warfare, in its broadest sense, in which a matricultural society might engage? What does the idea of peace mean and how is it achieved and/or strengthened? What are the means whereby matricultural societies resolve conflict (domestic or foreign) before it comes to violence, and what role do women and men play in those processes? Among matricultural societies, who makes the political decisions to engage in warfare, whether defensive or offensive? What have been the consequences of war for matricultures, including the enhancement or diminishment of status for women? We look for submissions which address these questions and others related to the topic.

Taking matriculture as a cultural system in the classical Geertzian sense of the term, this issue of Matrix will explore the institutions and customs around warfare and peacemaking among matricultural societies, including cultures where women go to war themselves (whether as warriors, soldiers, spies, or in another way), where women are central to peace-building traditions, where women exercise military authority over men (formally or informally), or exercise the political authority to declare war (and end it). We take it as a given that some cultures have a weakly defined matricultural system, while others, who have strong matricultural systems, express this strength in several ways – one of which is through designating women as authorities over or active participants in violent conflict or as builders of peace.

We invite articles which present, analyze, or contextualize historical or present-day warfare by or upon matricultures and any social institutions which are involved, as well as articles which deconstruct the meaning of war and peace among matricultural societies. We are interested in questions such as: What is the role for women in warfare when the society/ies in conflict have a flourishing matricultural system? Do cultures with flourishing matricultures have unique means of achieving peace, or strengthening it? How do women contribute to the processes of warfare among matricultural societies? In what matricultures do women have the authority to declare war, to conduct warfare, or the freedom to become warriors if they so chose?

  • styles of warfare as conducted by societies with strong matricultural systems
  • means of preventing conflict used by matricultural societies
  • meaning of peace to matricultural societies and methods of achieving and/or strengthening it
  • the meaning of warfare in matricultural societies
  • women warriors or soldiers, and/or women’s warrior societies, historical or contemporary
  • political authority as exercised by women in matricultures
  • social institutions of matricultures where women exercise military power
  • the role of women in strategies of engaging and/or disengaging with external conflicts
  • the role of women in strategies of conflict resolution
  • the status of men and their relationships to women in martial matricultures

Issue Editor: Linnéa Rowlatt (Network on Culture)

Please submit a 300-word abstract (max) to the Issue Editor or to the Editorial Collective of Matrix: A Journal for Matricultural Studies

Submission via email to: lrowlatt@networkonculture.ca or info@networkonculture.ca with the Subject line ‘Matrix Vol. 3 (2) Abstract Submission’.

Deadline for Abstract Submission (extended): 15 October 2021 (now closed)

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 on a biannual basis.

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, community members, and other knowledge keepers from around the world who are ready to take a new look at the ways in which people - women and men, 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: https://www.networkonculture.ca/activities/matrix.