Archive | From the editors

Bruce Trigger (1937-2006)

Victor Buchli, Dept of Anthropology, UCL
It is with great sadness to have to report that Bruce Trigger died at the beginning of this month.
Bruce Graham Trigger (born June 18, 1937 died December 1, 2006) was a Canadian archaeologist. Born in Preston, Ontario, he received a doctorate in archaeology from Yale University in 1964. His research interests include the history of archaeological research and the comparative study of early cultures. He taught at Northwestern University for a year in 1964 and since then has been in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University in Montréal. For his in-depth study of the ethnohistory of the Hurons, he has been adopted as an honorary member of the Huron-Wendat Nation. His book A History of Archaeological Thought is a must for anyone who wishes to understand the development of archaeology as a discipline.…

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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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Museum + Anthropology = Blog, and Other Online Phenomena

Haidy Geismar, NYU
Map showing the location of the last 100 viewers of Materialworldblog, source
Alongside this site, there are several recent additions to the Museum/Anthropology blogosphere which are definitely worth checking out (any other good links, please add to the comments below!).
The bi-annual journal, Museum Anthropology, now has it’s own blog, which will be used increasingly to supplement materials published in the journal. The blog offers a forum in which articles published in the journal can be discussed formally as a form of post-publication peer-review. It will also dynamically post notifications of current exhibitions, symposium, book releases and other relevant material. Scholars interested in the fields of museum studies and material culture studies are urged to submit announcements and other materials of interest to the community.…

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Clifford Geertz (1926-2006)

Daniel Miller, Anthropology UCL
My impression is that students coming into anthropology today, at least in Britain, are not necessarily expecting to read very much of the writings of Clifford Geertz, compared to my time as a student. But his death on Monday should remind us of just how much a loss that is. I have spent my academic life enamoured of fieldwork and ethnography and I suspect the single biggest influence on this was the sheer pleasure of reading Geertz. As far as I know he never would have described himself as particularly associated with material culture per se, (please comment if you know otherwise) but he was the quintessential cultural anthropologist, and his work shows how much that American tradition of cultural anthropology, (to some degree as opposed to European social anthropology) provided in its heyday an almost seamless acceptance of the materiality of peoples lives and the need to give due credit to the form of cultural order and life.…

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Material World – a new webspace

Welcome to Material World, an interactive, online hub for contemporary debates, discussion, thinking and research centred on material and visual culture. It is the brainchild of scholars working in the anthropology departments of University College London and New York University, but aims to create a new international community of academics, students, curators, artists and anyone else with particular interests in material and visual culture.
We will use this digital framework to post exhibition, book and other reviews; discuss key topics; develop online reading groups and symposia; post links to images, objects and collections; highlight cutting edge research and fieldwork, conferences, meetings and other events; develop teaching resources and syllabi; and encourage student participation.

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