This land is your land: US art world acknowledge Native American land rights

The Art Newspaper, December 8, 2018

“Situated at the so-called Indian Beach Park, it is hard to forget that the Pulse Art Fair, like most enterprises based in Miami, is sitting on lands formerly inhabited by people from the Cherokee, Miccosukee and Seminole tribes, among others.

This is why the New York-based gallery Accola Griefen noted in an Instagram post that “we gather and work this week on the traditional land of the Seminole and Tequesta people, past and present” before opening their Pulse booth for business this week. Although the gallery’s co-founder Kat Griefen acknowledges that it is “a very small gesture”, the act of land acknowledgement, which can be as simple as noting the tribes indigenous to the region out loud or in print, has been gaining traction among art dealers and organisations across the US. 

The movement is in part spurred by a non-governmental advocacy agency known as the US Department of Arts and Culture, which issued a guide on how to honour native land in 2017, including social media hashtags to help raise awareness. And it has taken on a greater sense of urgency in light of a case currently being considered by the US Supreme Court, to decide whether the Muscogee Creek Nation still has authority over its historic tribal lands in Oklahoma.”

More here.

Current Opportunities at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Research Fellow, Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford

The Museum is seeking to appoint a Research Fellow as part of our strategic vision to be a world-leading centre for the cross-disciplinary study of visual and material culture. The Research Fellow will join an active and engaged group of leading researchers within the Museum and contribute to it with their own cutting-edge work. The Fellow will carry out and publish independent research within the general fields of visual, material and museum anthropology and related themes that interconnect with the Museum’s collections and histories. The post holder will also help coordinate a new initiative to expand University teaching with the Museum’s collections. The Fellow will be fully supported in accessing collections for research purposes and in the preparation of research applications and also engage with the Museum’s Public Engagement with Research activities.

More here.

Research Associate, Labelling Matters, Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum is looking for a Research Assistant to manage a project that aims to identify and find ways to redress a range of ethical issues in the current displays.

Are you a critical thinker ready to help tackle a complex problem around historical labelling and language-use in the much-loved and criticised Pitt Rivers Museum? The “Labelling Matters” project builds on inclusivity focused work being developed at the PRM and other ethnographic museums with the aim to dissect and dismantle some of the complex contested words, stereotypes and concepts that are present not only in museums but in society at large. What ways might we find to use the Pitt Rivers Museum Victorian age space, its historic labels and the contested nature of the collection to interrogate the Museum and related disciplines present and pasts?

The Museum is seeking to appoint a Research Associate as part of our strategic vision to be a world-leading centre for the cross-disciplinary study of visual and material culture. The Research Associate will coordinate and carry out a review of the visual and textual language in the Museum’s main galleries and a selection of web-based microsites.

This is a fixed-term post for 12 months and the postholder will work collaboratively with colleagues across the different sections of the Museum with regards to exhibition design and new interpretation guidelines as well as the other responsibilities outlined in the job description.

More here.

Counter-Memories: Photographs of Empire in Country House Collections

Almost all National Trust country house properties have historic photographic collections. These photographs are usually associated with family members who lived at the houses. Among them are many images of the British Empire. Some albums relate to personal, family or business travel, while others derive from military or administrative service overseas. These colonial images range from the touristic to the anthropological, from leisure to expedition, and from exoticism to the domestic.

This project offers a unique opportunity to undertake a ‘visual archaeology’ of these virtually unstudied photographic collections. The aim of the research is to explore the relationships between empire, knowledge and regimes of photographic visuality in post-colonial perspective, through studies of historic photographs as zones of contact or conflict in the past and as ongoing legacies and aftershocks of colonialism in the present. Specific material that could be form the focus of the research ranges from well documented collections at Polesden Lacey in Surrey or Packwood House in Warwickshire to many other little-understood collections at other properties. The sheer richness and unstudied nature of the material means that most regions in which 19th- and 20th-century British imperialism operated could form the geographical focus of the research – from the Caribbean to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This geographical focus will be agreed between the supervisors and the students before the research begins.

The project offers a unique opportunity for the geo-political dimensions of these neglected and provincial colonial archives to be explored, for example through the creation of new connections with places and descendant communities beyond the country house. Research themes developed by the research student around this material may include questions of ‘race’, class, gender, genre and representation, objectification and orientalism, visibility and silence, and knowledge and memory, ranging from what Marie-Louise Pratt called the ‘transculturation’ of ‘imperial eyes’ to the ongoing status of the colonial gaze of these visual pasts in contemporary, postcolonial Britain. Though the embedding of the studentship in the ongoing operation of National Trust properties, the ‘Counter-Memories’ project will foreground for the student the practical challenges of exploring unseen pasts through visual culture.

Applicants will normally have an academic background in an Arts, Humanities or Social Science discipline such as Archaeology, Anthropology, Art History, Museum Studies, or History.

More here.

The Photological Past: contemporary archaeological photography as visual culture 

Co-supervised by Dan Hicks (Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, Oxford) and Dr Sadie Watson (Project Officer, MOLA), the research will re-assess the status of the photographic image in the practice of archaeological fieldwork and documentation in the digital age. Studying the tens of thousands of photographs taken and archived by MOLA in the course of more than 40 years of professional practice on development projects from the City of London to national infrastructure projects such as High Speed 2, the research will apply approaches from the study of photography in the History of Art and Visual Anthropology to the study of historic archaeological photography and the reflexive study of archaeological fieldwork and the creation of archaeological knowledge of the human past. The subjects of photographs will range from excavations of prehistoric, Roman, medieval or modern sites to standing buildings, artefacts, or fieldwork in process.

The study of historical and changing contemporary practices, genres and norms of archaeological photography offers a unique opportunity to study the place of visual culture in the production of knowledge of the past. The research will address the idea of “photological knowledge” in relation to questions of time, archive, and objectivity – moving beyond longstanding literatures on the social construction of heritage in order to look at the visual enactment of the human past through the photography of archaeological deposits – soils, scales, artefacts, and so on.

The collaborative nature of the project will facilitate research that is genuinely embedded within field projects across the UK, from London’s Square Mile to rural landscapes. This will make possible a unique extended case study for observing and reflecting on photography as a practice in the field, and its afterlives both in the museum archive and both formally and informally across social media. Particular themes may include the different modes of ‘working shots’, technical field photography as ‘preservation by record’, and reportage or journalistic photography; tensions between fieldworkers’ photos and ‘professional’ photography; the changing presence of the human subject in the frame of archaeological photographs; new drone technologies creating new forms of aerial photography; and archaeological approaches to the sheer scale of the digital record, and its preservation. The researcher will have full access to the unique photographic archive of MOLA, as well as the ongoing production of photographic images in fieldwork through the organisation’s contemporary practice, and may also choose to study the use of archaeological imagery in museum displays and publications.

More here.

Writing the Ethnological Museum

This collaborative project uses the historic inscription practices of the Pitt Rivers Museum as a lens through which to study the history and ongoing legacies of the knowledge made through colonialism in the context of the ethnographic museum. Primary material includes all writing practices involved in the functioning of the anthropological museum as an institution from 1884 to the present day: from vocabularies of people and thing to museum labels as a genre, a narratology of annual reports and accession books, a close reading of the card index and database, and the study of the diversity of practices of writing on objects. The hands of particular curators and collectors and the re-writing of museum displays will be put into dialogue with a broader set of questions about the relationships between objectification through material culture and representation through text.

In a cross-disciplinary perspective that brings literary analysis into dialogue with linguistic anthropology through material culture, the research  will involve a literary study of language, writing and speech acts as imperial technologies of objectification in the academy in the past, and a consideration of the scope for rereading and revision today.

Case studies will be drawn from across the geographical, temporal and disciplinary scope of the Pitt Rivers, from Asia and Africa to the Americas and Oceania, with regional or thematic focuses developing from the student’s own interests.

The research will be conducted at the intersection between a series of present themes in postcolonial literary and museum studies, including thinking about ‘voice’; the politics of representation/self-representation; technologies of writing; the making and unmaking of cultural, racial and gendered identities; archival silences and archival traces; reparative histories; the construction of narratives of self and other; the politics of the ‘contact zone’ and encounter and the question of ‘culture wars’; aesthetics and politics; the constitution and/or reframing of the archive; the politics of the particular and the universal; authority and authorship; narrative strategies and ‘narrativity’; (re)reading against the grain; and resistance, dialogics and rewriting.

More here.

Belgium’s Africa Museum Had a Racist Image. Can It Change That?

The New York Times, December 8, 2018

“Belgium’s Africa Museum, once seen as Europe’s last unreconstructed museum of the colonial era, reopened on Saturday after a five-year, $73 million revamp.

The museum in Tervuren, on the outskirts of Brussels, had been overhauled in an effort to shake off its racist and pro-colonial image, said Guido Gryseels, 66, the museum’s director general, in an interview.

“Entire generations of Belgians came here and got the message that colonialism was a good thing, that we brought civilization and welfare and culture to Congo,” he said.”

More here.

The Field Museum's Native North American Hall starts to ask who it represents

Josh Rios, The Chicago Reader, December 7, 2018

“The story of any North American natural history museum would also have to be, at least partially, a story about Native North Americans—about their physical removal from the land and cultural removal from a central position in our various national histories and narratives. Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History—in particular, the museum's Native North American Hall—is finding new ways to tell some of these stories.

Located just off the museum's southern entrance and adjacent to the gift shop, the hall features a sizable set of glass-fronted display cases and vitrines dedicated to exhibiting the cultural artifacts of numerous Native American peoples spanning from northern Mexico to Canada. The vitrines, reminiscent of department store window displays, are built into the very architecture of the space and span from floor to ceiling. Like the objects in any shop window, the hall's artifacts are meticulously arranged to create a desired effect. The casual viewer peruses the objects on display, each artifact carefully spaced and arranged on the wall like a diagram. Seeing the objects isolated and behind thick glass creates a false sense in the viewer that knowledge is being gained through the simple act of looking. Given the scant descriptions of the objects provided, whatever knowledge may be grasped is likely insubstantial, and sits at the level of perception. In addition to some variously placed smaller displays, there are several large free-floating vitrines in the space, built in a similar manner, populated by faceless mannequins outfitted in the indigenous clothing of various nations. The display walls are painted an institutional shade of pale green. In disrepair, with some artifacts missing or showing signs of damage, the Native North American Hall appears to have been abandoned by the museum, which is tantamount to an abandonment of the museum's imperative to educate the public, to provide up-to-date information on developing ideas regarding the history and science of the objects it stewards, and to enunciate new stories those objects might tell.”

More here.

Museum of Black Civilisations aims to 'decolonise knowledge'

Al Jazeera, December 5, 2018

“In April 1966, Senegal's first president and a poet, Leopold Sedar Senghor ascended the steps of the National Assembly in Dakar to declare his country the temporary capital of Black Civilisation at the launch of the World Festival of Black Arts.

In the following weeks, African luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and writer Wole Soyinka would converge on the Senegalese capital, as would others from the wider African diaspora: Jazz great Duke Ellington, the Martiniquan poet Aime Cesaire, Barbadian novelist George Lamming and American writers Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka.

Dakar would briefly play host to some of the leading black movements of the day. African liberation, the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz, and the negritude movement, of which Senghor was also a leading figure, were represented. Despite their differences, they shared an optimism that people of African descent, wherever they were, would define their own futures.”

More here.

Conference Opportunity: Collections in Circulation, The Mobile Museum Project Conference

Collections in Circulation: Conference, May 9-10, 2019
Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference, 9-10 May 2019

 We are pleased to announce that registration has opened for this Conference, to be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th May 2019.

The conference will bring together scholars from the UK and overseas with a shared interest in the mobility of museum collections, past and present. Their papers will address various aspects of the history of the circulation of objects and their re-mobilisation in the context of object exchange, educational projects and community engagement. 

Confirmed speakers include Claudia Augustat, Paul Basu, Joshua Bell, Martha Fleming, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Luciana Martins, Wayne Modest, Catherine Nichols, Jude Philp, Daniel Simpson, Alice Stevenson and members of the Mobile Museum project team.

This conference is organised by the Mobile Museum project, a collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Email: mobilemuseum@kew.org

Twitter: @KewMobileMuseum #KewMobileMuseum

More here.

Whitney Museum Director Pens Letter After Vice Chair’s Relationship to Weapons Manufacturer Is Publicized

Hyperallergic, December 2, 2018

“On November 25, at the US–Mexico border between Tijuana and San Diego, United States Customs and Border Protection officers released tear gas and smoke grenade on hundreds of Central American asylum seekers hoping to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry into California. Numerous on-site reporters posted photographs of the chemical weapon canisters branded “Safariland,” a corporation owned by businessman and weapons industry figure, Warren B. Kanders.

On November 27, Hyperallergic reported that Kanders sits on the board of the Whitney as a vice chairman and is a “significant contributor” in the recent Whitney Andy Warhol exhibition, From A to B and Back Again. In the following days, over 100 Whitney staffers signed a letter to museum administration requesting “the development and distribution of a clear policy around Trustee participation” and “a public statement from the Whitney in response to the Hyperallergic article.”

Today, December 3, Adam Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, released a statement addressed to museum staff and trustees, decrying the insidiousness of nationalism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia, while asserting the museum “cannot right all the ills of an unjust world, nor is that its role.” He closes his letter with an impending promise to meet with staff and trustees in the upcoming days.”

More here.

Position Announcement: Curator of Ethnography, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is seeking a Curator of Ethnography. This is a full-time, exempt position, responsible for the continued development and use of Anthropology’s ethnographic collections. We seek an energetic individual who will promote the accessibility of these collections through the Museum’s education programs, exhibits and public outreach.

Located in the coastal town of Santa Barbara, renowned for its Mediterranean climate, the Museum was founded over 100 years ago. It has a long-established, strong tradition in collection-based research with many of its collections being ranked both nationally and internationally. 

The Museum’s ethnographic collection encompasses material culture from much of Western North America. Holdings include more than 1000 baskets, about 500 textiles, 300 leather items, 250 examples of pottery, 250 wooden objects, and 500 artifacts of other types. Research and collections especially emphasize Chumash and other California Indian groups. The Museum currently holds 50 Chumash baskets, some dating from the late 18th century, the largest number in any institution. The curators consult with our California Indian Advisory Council on exhibits, public programs, and curation of cultural heritage materials.

Minimum requirements include an advanced degree in Anthropology or related field with expertise in Ethnography, and multi-year experience with museum collections and management techniques. Familiarity with collections database software and grant writing is desirable. The candidate should be familiar with Native American cultures, a good communicator, able to converse with the public, and pursue scholarly research.

Salary DOE. Please visit our website to review a detailed job description and apply at www.sbnature.org. When applying please upload (1) letter of interest; (2) current CV with list of publications in one PDF; include (3) names of three references hr@sbnature2.org 

Review of applications starts November 15, 2018, until filled. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Segment on "Museums: Repatriation, and Ownership" on The Agenda with Steve Paikin

CMA President-Elect Cara Krmpotich discusses repatriation and ownership with Lucy Bell and Gail Lord on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”

Who owns art, antiquities and cultural artifacts, from the Elgin Marbles to the cultural artifacts of Canada's First Nations? It's a question museums and nations were left to struggle with after colonial powers stepped in. And, if the world's great museums were emptied of these treasures, could the story of civilization still be told to millions around the world?

Fellowship Opportunity: American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, PA/USA

The American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia invites applications for long and short-term research fellowships for scholars working in all fields, and especially those working on projects pertaining to the history of science, technology, and medicine; early American history; anthropology and linguistics; and Native American and Indigenous Studies.

The Library houses over 13 million manuscripts, 350,000 volumes of printed materials, thousands of maps and prints, and more than a thousand hours of audio recordings of Native American languages. Collections continue to grow and are renowned for their depth and interdisciplinary strengths in diverse fields, including (but not necessarily limited to): Early American History and Culture to 1840 • Atlantic History • Intellectual History • Travel, Exploration and Expeditions • History of Science, Technology and Medicine • History of Biochemistry, Physiology and Biophysics including 20th-Century Medical Research • History of Eugenics and Genetics • History of Physics, especially Quantum Physics • History of Natural History in the 18th and 19th Centuries • Anthropology, particularly Native American History, Culture and Languages • Caribbean and Slavery Studies. The Library does not hold materials on philosophy in the modern sense.

Comprehensive, searchable guides and finding aids to our collections are available online at www.amphilsoc.org/library.

Applications are now open for the following positions. Applicants whose research subjects overlap any other APS Library fellowship programs may also submit applications to other pertinent programs, though only one fellowship can be awarded to an individual. The strongest applications will demonstrate a clear need to consult materials housed in the APS Library and will list which collections will be used during the fellowship term.

 See individual fellowship descriptions below for more information and instructions on how to apply.

The deadline for all long-term fellowship opportunities is Friday, February 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

The deadline for all short-term fellowship opportunities (including Digital Knowledge Sharing and Digital Humanities Fellowships) is Friday, March 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

For a complete listing of all APS grant and fellowship opportunities, visit https://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/fellowships

 Long-Term Predoctoral Fellowships 

Applications for all long-term fellowship opportunities may be submitted no later than Friday, February 1, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Predoctoral Fellowship

This 12-month fellowship is intended for advanced Ph.D. students working toward the completion of the dissertation

  • Applicants will receive a stipend of $25,000, plus travel and research funds, to support twelve months of work in Native American and Indigenous Studies or allied fields.

  • Applications are open to scholars in all related fields and all periods of time, although preference will be given to those who have experience working with Native communities.

  • The successful applicant will be based at the Library’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) (https://amphilsoc.org/cnair), which aims to promote greater collaboration between scholars, archives, and indigenous communities.

To apply, please submit materials to https://apply.interfolio.com/56007.

Friends of the American Philosophical Society Predoctoral Fellowship in Early American History (to 1840)

  • This 12-month fellowship is intended for advanced Ph.D. students working toward the completion of the dissertation.

  • Applicants will receive a stipend of $25,000 to support twelve months of work on topics pertaining to early American history (to 1840).

  • The successful applicant will receive an appointment as a Research Associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, which will provide library and computer privileges at the University of Pennsylvania to those who agree to participate regularly in the McNeil Center’s seminars and other programming (www.mceas.org).

To apply, please submit materials to https://apply.interfolio.com/56009.

Predoctoral Fellowships in the History of Science

These 12-month fellowships are intended for advanced Ph.D. students working toward the completion of the dissertation.

  • Applicants will receive a stipend of $25,000, plus research and travel funds, to support twelve months of work on topics pertaining to the history of science, broadly defined.

  • Applicants’ research must pertain to topics in the history of science or related fields.

  • The successful applicant will be affiliated with the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (www.chstm.org).

To apply, please submit materials to https://apply.interfolio.com/57037.

Short-Term Fellowships

Applications for all short-term fellowship opportunities may be submitted no later than Friday, March 1, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.

Library Resident Short-Term Research Fellowship

The APS’s short-term fellowships provide 1- to 3 months of support for researchers in residence who are using Library collections. Fellowships are open to researchers working in all fields who show a demonstrated need to use the Library’s collections for their project.

A stipend of $3,000 per month is awarded to all successful applicants for a minimum of one month and a maximum of three months. Approximately 25-30 short-term fellowships are awarded each year. 

Applicants may be:

  • Holders of the Ph.D. or its equivalent

  • Ph.D. candidates who have passed their preliminary examinations and are working on their dissertation research

  • Degreed independent scholars (without current academic affiliation)

  • Applicants may be U.S. citizens or foreign nationals. Candidates who live 75 or more miles from Philadelphia receive some preference.

To apply, please submit materials to https://apply.interfolio.com/56014.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowship

These fellowships complement the collaborative work undertaken by the Library’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) to support university- and community-based scholars working on digital projects that connect archives and Indigenous communities.

  • DKS fellowships are open to scholars at all stages of their careers, especially Native American scholars in training, tribal college and university faculty members, and other scholars working closely with Native communities.

  • Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,000 plus the costs associated with visiting the APS in Philadelphia to attend a summer workshop with other DKS fellows. 

  • Applicants may use materials hosted at the APS Library as well as those held at other archives and libraries.

  • These funding opportunities are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI). Selected fellows will be associated with the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) (www.amphilsoc.org/CNAIR).

To apply, please submit materials to https://apply.interfolio.com/56341.

Digital Humanities Fellowship

These one-month fellowships are open to scholars at all stages of their careers, including graduate students, who are developing digital projects that: 1) utilize the APS’s Library holdings to advance a digital component of an independent research project, or, 2) seek to apply existing tools and expertise to digital projects developed in collaboration with the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship.

  • Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,000 per month upon arrival at the APS Library

  • Possible collaborative projects will focus on the Center’s Open Data Initiative and would explore data sets created from either a) the Benjamin Franklin postal records kept during his tenure as Postmaster of Colonial Philadelphia, 1748-1752, or b) datasets created from a stout volume of indenture records for servants and redemptioners coming through the port of Philadelphia during the 1770s. Applicants interested in working on these project need not have special expertise in early American history.

To apply, please submit materials to http://apply.interfolio.com/56792.

Applicants: Use Interfolio's help desk for any issues pertaining to the online application process.

Contact regarding the program and the American Philosophical Society: libfellows@amphilsoc.org