Archive | Conferences and other events

Call for Papers

Sensory worlds – Sensory methods
University of Manchester: June 30- July 2 2007
In combination with 10th Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film
Convenors: Arnd Schneider and Christopher Wright
Repeated calls for experimentation in anthropological representation alongside the ‘anthropology of the senses’ and the ‘ethnographic turn’ in the contemporary art world, seem to suggest many rich and sensory possibilities for collaborations and border crossings between art and anthropology. However the implications for new research methods and representations based on the senses have been little explored. If anthropologists are intent on representing the sensual richness and variety of fieldwork (and ‘cultural’ data, more generally), there is a need for new forms of research and representation beyond text, and text-informed visual media.…

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Things that Move: The Material Worlds of Tourism and Travel

19 – 23 July 2007, Leeds, United Kingdom

Still from the film Cannibal Tours, by Dennis O’Rourke,
Whatever the prophecies of ‘virtual’ reality, we inhabit and move
through the ‘real’ world of objects. Though tourism and travel are
bound to concepts of time and space, they are also rooted in the
material world – a tangible world of places, things, edifices,
buildings, monuments and ‘stuff’. The relationships we develop and
share with these things varies from the remote to the intimate, from
the transient to the lasting and from the passive to the passionate.
Within the practices of tourism and its use (and non-use) of the
material world, and, through the act of travel, objects are given
meaning, status, and are endowed with symbolism and power.…

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Spring Cleaning: Rediscovering and Revitalizing the Artifact

University of Calgary Free Exchange Graduate Conference
16-18 March 2007
For more information, please visit Free Exchange at
“The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his
little home.. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him,
penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine
discontent and longing.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
The study of the artifact should not remain inextricably linked to history.
We are asking potential participants to search in familiar as well as new
locations for objects previously lost or forgotten. Search in Jacques
Derrida’s archive or Robert Kroetsch’s Canada. Items may be found between
the layers of Michel Foucault’s archaeology or Peggy Phelan’s cultural

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Materializing Oceania: Why Things Still Matter

Announcing a session at the forthcoming Association for Social Anthropology of Oceania, Charlottesville, Virginia, February 20 – 24, 2006.
Engaging with the recent work emerging out of anthropology’s material turn, participants in this session seek to understand the ways in which the objects people make, make them (Miller 2005: 38) in a regional context. The Pacific has long influenced thinking about the relationships between persons and things. Building on a rich anthropological heritage, how can we turn this body of theory back into ethnography? Examining communities’ continued engagements with their transforming material worlds, we endeavour to not only understand the diverse processes of materiality in Oceania but also to further illuminate the rich historical legacy of anthropology’s engagement with Pacific objects.…

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International Symposium of Arts in Society

Welcome to the website of 2007 International Symposium on the Arts in Society. Held mid way between the annual International Conference on the Arts in Society (held in 2006 in conjunction with the Edinburgh Festivals), we will work in collaboration with New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and its Center for Art and Public Policy. Similar to our full annual conferences, this mid-year Arts Symposium will address a range of critically important themes relating to the arts today. The symposium will run in conjunction with The Armory Show International Art Fair, one of the leading and largest visual art fairs in the world. Conference presenters will include artists and organisers involved in The Armory Show, as well as leading theorists and practitioners from NYU and our International Advisory Board.…

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Thinking Through Things

Daniel Miller, UCL
On Thursday 7th December a book launch was held for a new volume Thinking Through Things. Edited by A Henare, M Holbraad and S Wastell and published by Routledge.
The book is clearly of interest to anyone in material culture studies. The primary theme is concerned with transcending any dualism between things and concepts, for which purpose there is considerable engagement with epistemological and ontological issues. The intention is not to develop a new theory, but rather to affirm an analytical methodology, that anthropologists could utilise to gain insights in their various studies. The inspiration is quite clearly the work of Marilyn Strathern, and the degree to which this clearly represents a cadre of younger scholars working enthusiastically to related themes is testimony to her inspiration at Cambridge.…

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Material Religion

Barbara Kirschenblatt Gimblett, NYU
Mitzvah Kinder figurines, right to left: Malkeleh, Moishy, Totty (Father), Mommy, and Baby Chaim. “The ‘Mitzvah Kinder’ has been designed to represent a Yiddishe family in the world of children’s play and imagination. Our charming characters made of soft lightweight rubber, makes them safe, durable and irresistible. So make the ‘Mitzvah Kinder’ part of your family.”
The Working Group on Jews, Media, and Religion at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media is contributing to a special issue of Material Religion dedicated to Jews edited by Jeffrey Shandler and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. The articles in this issue examine the role that material culture plays in the intersection of Jews, media, and religion. Our goal in this endeavor is to explore the range of material culture–the designing, production, dissemination, collecting, inventorying, and use of things–as media in Jewish religious life, past and present, broadly defined.…

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Material Culture studies at the American Anthropological Association

Daniel Miller, Anthropology UCL
A Congress of different cultures: the General Assembly of the United Nations (in lieu of a conference photograph from the AAA)

Last week I attended the annual meetings of the AAA held at San Jose. I went along with a group of students, staff and ex-students from University College London to present a panel concerned with studies inside and outside the home. As usual we are fairly up-front in presenting ourselves under the auspices of ‘material culture studies’. But while this term seems to have established itself as fully as one could wish outside of the US, in the anthropology of places as diverse as Australia through to Brazil, US anthropology continues to exhibit some reticence with respect both to the terminology and its associated conceptualisations.…

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The Death of Taste

The Death of Taste, ICA, London November 23-24 2006, examines the work of making, styling and fashioning taste within the context of increasingly speeded-up fashion trends and the constant plundering of the recent past. It combines academics from the fields of material culture, sociology and fashion history with leading figures of the fashion industry.’
The event is organised by the Alistair O’ Neill and Dr. Joanne Entwistle, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, UK and Prof. Alison Clarke, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria.
For more information see

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