CFP: IV Autumn Conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory on October 20–22, 2011

Call for Papers: IV Autumn Conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory

University of Tartu, Estonia
October 20–22, 2011

Things in culture, cultures in things and lest we forget, all that stuff in between. Objects, artefacts and matter, even sometimes the immaterial, have been comprehensively theorised and contextualised through a number of intriguing case studies. Since the groundbreaking publication of The Social Life of Things in 1986 to the launch of the Journal of Material Culture ten years later, the material world in its cross-cultural, multi-temporal and interdisciplinary study could never quite be the same again. Indeed, the very concern for the effects and affects of the ways in which materiality changes over time is the one that this interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) seeks to address.

A well known adage in this field of enquiry is that things make people as much people make things. The relationships we develop and share with a tangible arena of artworks, buildings, infra-structures, monuments, relics and everyday objects varies from the remote to the intimate, from the fleeting to the durable, from immediate to mediated, from the passive to the passionate, from the philosophised to the commonsensical. Within the practices of creative processes and their use or non-use of the physical world, things gain meaning and status. They become endowed with agency, symbolism and power. Our journeys through the world of things generate a multitude of emotions: pleasure, attachment, belonging, angst, envy, exclusion, loathing and fear. They also feed into the propagation of on-going myths, narratives and discourses which oscillate between the robust and the ever shifting.

The organising committee of the conference is currently inviting proposals to present at the CECT IV Autumn conference. Interested participants are encouraged to think about how their work addresses any of the following themes within the wider rubric of ‘things in culture, culture in things’. Papers are not necessarily restricted to any of these categories however.   

(i) Dynamics – Changing of meaning, practices, functions and modality in time and space
- displaying / collecting (museums, galleries and institutions);
- archaeological practice / how objects are made meaningful through their use;
- naming and renaming; assembling and dismantling;
- modality, mediation, remediation; (sources of) knowledge of things;
- innovation and technologies;
- biographies of things / life stories;
- recycling, reuse, waste, entropy, heritage.

(ii) Identity – Ways we relate to and use things
- identification / objectification;
- memory (memorials);
- cultural autocommunication;
- symbolic usage of things – heritage, monuments, rituals;
- consumption, consumerism / commodification;
- naming, narrating and silencing (or censoring) things;
- embodiment and things.

(iii) Methodologies – How we study things
- objects and subjects of research;
- material aspects of research / materiality of research;
- disciplinary and interdisciplinary methodologies;
- historiographical approaches;
- what things are - genres and types of things in different disciplines;
- historical epistemologies.

Abstract submission: proposals for individual papers and sessions should be submitted by June 1st, 2011. Abstracts of no more than 350 words in English should be sent via email to the address listed below. Please include your name, designation, university/institute, e-mail, telephone number(s), postal address and a short biographical note (up to 100 words) including research interests and key publications. The authors of the accepted abstracts will be notified by July 1st, 2011.

Manuscript Submission: Once the abstracts are accepted, the full papers for a presentation of 20 minutes must be submitted to the conference administrator by October 1st, 2011. Papers will be considered for publication in an edited volume.

A conference fee is not required but there will be no reimbursement for accommodation and travel costs for conference guests (except for CECT members). More information about accommodation choices will be provided after acceptance.

Key Dates and Deadlines:
Abstracts Due: June 1st, 2011
Acceptance Notification: July 1st, 2011
Registration Deadline: September 1st, 2011
Full Paper Submission: October 1st, 2011
Conference: October 20th–22nd, 2011

Conference committee: Valter Lang, Mari Lõhmus (archaeology); Patrick Laviolette, Helen Sooväli-Sepping (landscape studies); Kirsti Jõesalu, Maarja Kaaristo, Ester Võsu (ethnology); Ene Kõresaar (cultural communication studies); Katre Pärn (semiotics)
Conference administrator: Monika Tasa, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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