Visiting Scholar Opportunity: The University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen Visiting Scholars awards for 2019 have just been launched. The website and application form can be found here: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/special-collections/visiting-scholars-532.php

The Awards provide financial support of up to £2,000 to cover expenses incurred over a period of two to four weeks while pursuing a research project directly relating to the University’s collections. Visiting Scholars will be given access to the collections in the collections research facilities of the Sir Duncan Rice Library and Marischal College, and will contribute to Friends of Aberdeen University Library and Museums and Special Collections activities. Applications for both traditional academic and creative, practice-based forms of research are welcome.

The University’s collections consist of over 230,000 rare books, some 5,000 archive collections, and over 300,000 museum artefacts and scientific specimens. The disciplinary range is wide, with particular strengths in eighteenth and nineteenth-century English and Scottish literature, history, anthropology, archaeology, fine art, the history of science and medicine, and the natural and life sciences. (For details, see https://www.abdn.ac.uk/museums and www.abdn.ac.uk/special-collections.)

2019 Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA) is accepting applications for its 2019 program in Washington, DC. SIMA is a graduate student training program in museum research methods offered through the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Students participate in seminars and hands-on workshops at the museum and at an off-site collections facility, learning to navigate museum systems and select methods for examination and analysis of museum specimens while collecting data for a project of their choice.

WHO: Graduate students interested in using museum collections as data.

DATES: Applications due MARCH 1, 2019. SIMA 2019 will be June 17 – July 12. 

COST: The program covers tuition and shared apartment housing.

A stipend of $1500 will be provided to assist with the cost of food and other local expenses. Participants are individually responsible for travel costs.

ELIGIBILITY: Students studying anthropology or related interdisciplinary programs at the M.A. and doctoral levels are considered for acceptance. All U.S. graduate students are eligible for acceptance, even if studying abroad. International students can be considered if they are enrolled in a U.S. university. NOTE: Canadian First Nation members are eligible under treaty agreements.

For more information and to apply, please visit https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/anthropology/programs/summer-institute-museum-anthropology

Check out our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Summer-Institute-in-Museum-Anthropology-424535360948952/

Feel free to contact us at SIMA@si.edu if you have any questions.

Fellowship Opportunity: Summer Native American Fellowship Program, Peabody Essex Museum

Apply now for an 10-week, full-time, paid fellowship at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). January 18, 2019 is the deadline.

 PEM seeks rising leaders in the museum field and nonprofit cultural sector for our expanded Native American Fellowship (NAF) Program. We are looking for graduate students and emerging professionals of Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native backgrounds who are eager to develop the knowledge, skills and networks necessary to become 21st-century community and museum leaders.

 Fellows work with PEM’s dynamic staff and gain access to a comprehensive perspective on the theory and practice of museum management. Weekly workshops, field trips, mentoring and in-depth engagement on museum projects support Fellows in sustaining their existing skills while cultivating their professional development needs. Placements will be available in: Curatorial, Integrated Media, Creative Services, Collection Management, Development and Exhibition Planning.

NAF Program offers stipend, housing and travel expenses. Academic credit is available upon official request.

You can find a description of the program, application guidelines and frequently asked questions at:https://pem.org/nasummerfellowship

Questions? Email us to nafellowship@pem.org

Call for Session Proposals: 2019 Native American Art Studies Association

Accepted session proposals will be announced in the February newsletter along with a call for individual papers for these and for Open Sessions. The Program Committee will organize individually volunteered papers into sessions related by topic, region, or methodology.

Session Organizers should send session abstracts of up to 200 words in length. Session abstracts must define the central issue clearly and identify intellectual focus of the session (theoretical, descriptive, historical, etc.), and indicate its organization (papers only, papers with discussant, roundtable, workshop, etc.).

Proposed sessions may focus on a particular body of material and present perspectives for further understanding of a topic. We are open to receiving proposals that encourage dialogue among artists, anthropologists, collectors, museum professionals and art historians. Standard-format sessions (90 minutes) should allow a maximum of four presentations, each no more than fifteen to twenty minutes in length. We welcome proposals for alternative format sessions, such as roundtable discussions, workshops, interviews, film screenings, etc. 

Session Organizers are responsible for soliciting a core group of speakers for their sessions. It is not necessary to have all presenters confirmed at this time, however please note the names of potential speakers under consideration and their topics. In principle, Session Organizers should allow additional papers to be included in response to the Open Call published in February 2019. Please bear in mind individual speakers can participate in one session only (though they may Chair one session and speak in another).

Submit sessions to: henrietta.lidchi [@] wereldculturen.nl 

Fellowship Opportunity: 2019-2020 Native American Scholars Initiative, American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society invites applications for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and short-term research fellowships and internships from 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 on projects in Native American and Indigenous Studies and related fields and disciplines. These funding opportunities are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI). Fellows and interns will be associated with the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR), which promotes greater collaboration among scholars, archives, and Indigenous communities 

Predoctoral Fellowship (deadline February 1, 2019)

This 12-month residential fellowship is intended for an advanced Ph.D. student working toward completion of the dissertation. A stipend of $25,000 (plus benefits) will be awarded to the successful applicant, who will have desk space at the APS Library. In addition, the predoctoral fellow will receive $5,000 in funding to support outside research, fieldwork, and/or travel. Further information about the fellowship and application process can be found at https://apply.interfolio.com/56007.

Postdoctoral Fellowship (deadline February 1, 2019)

This 12-month residential fellowship is intended for a recent Ph.D., professor at any level seeking sabbatical support for a research project, or an independent scholar working closely with an Indigenous community on a project. A stipend that includes the option for health benefits will be awarded to the successful applicant, who will have desk space at the APS Library. The stipend will be in the $45-60K range (depending on benefits). In addition, the postdoctoral fellow will receive $5,000 in funding to support outside research, fieldwork, and/or travel. Further information about the fellowship and application process can be found at

https://apply.interfolio.com/55932.

Short-term Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowship (deadline March 1, 2019)

These fellowships are open to scholars working on Native American and Indigenous topics who need to do archival research at the APS Library or elsewhere in order to complete their projects. Preference will be given to those who are working closely with Native communities and who plan to share their research with Native communities. The stipend is $3,000 plus the costs associated with visiting the APS for the summer 2019 DKS workshop. Further information about the fellowship and application process can be found at https://apply.interfolio.com/56341

Undergraduate Summer Internship (deadline February 15, 2019)

These paid 8-week internships provide three talented undergraduates with the opportunity to conduct research, to explore career possibilities in archives and special collections, and to learn about advanced training in Native American and Indigenous Studies and related fields. The internship will take place from mid-June to mid-August 2019. During this time students will work at the APS Library and may have the opportunity to travel to Native communities to share their work. The stipend is between $3000 and $3500 (depending on housing costs), plus a travel allowance. Further information about the internship and application process can be found at https://apply.interfolio.com/56020.

About the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR)

CNAIR focuses on helping Indigenous communities and scholars to discover and utilize the APS collection in innovative ways. The Collections comprise a vast archive of documentary sources (including manuscript materials, audio recordings, and images) related to over 650 indigenous cultures, predominantly from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Indigenous Subject Guide may be accessed through the CNAIR webpage: http://www.amphilsoc.org/CNAIR 

Questions about NASI fellowships should be directed tolibfellows@amphilsoc.orgor215-440-3400

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.