27 August 2014

Call for papers - Re-thinking Sami cultures in museums

University of Oslo, 26, 27, 28 November 2014

In the last few years, the politics of collection, representation and curation of Sami heritage in museums have received increased attention and are now engendering new opportunities and challenges for both museum theory and practice.

A conference titled "Rethinking Sami cultures in museums" is to be held at the Centre for Museums Studies at IKOS, University of Oslo. The conference is a collaboration between the Centre for Museum Studies at the University of Oslo, the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm and the University of Tromsø. We invite scholars and museum practitioners from different countries, disciplines and institutions to share experiences and research findings that illuminate aspects of Sami cultures in museums, both in an historical and contemporary perspective. Paper topics may include (but are not limited to):

Collecting Sami: rationale and modalities of collection

  • in the past and present
  • the challenges of collecting material and immaterial Sami heritage 

Exhibiting Sami: narratives and the politics of display

  • in Sami Museums
  • in national/majority museums, as well as in regional museums
  • historically
  • contemporary representations, issues and exhibition experiments 
  • the structure of the museum system (e.g. in which museums are Sami exhibited? What is the rationale of such distribution?)

Curating Sami: new approaches to curation and conservation of Sami heritage 

  • Sami 'traditional knowledge', Sami concepts, and world views: relevance and challenges for museum theory and practice 
  • Repatriation: perspectives on the process of return collections from national museums to local Sami museums or communities 

Cross-cutting topics

  • ethnical dimensions of collections, exhibiting and curating Sami heritage 
  • uses and implications of the adoption of indigenous methodologies (including indigenous concepts, practices, values and world views)

We particularly welcome papers that adopt a comparative perspective across Nordic countries, in order to bring to the fore similarities and differences in the way Sami heritage is presented in contemporary museums as a result of diverse:

  • forms of experiences and consequences of the colonial past;
  • roles of Sami in the process of nation-building;
  • relationships among Sami sub-groups, between Sami and the national government, and between Sami and other groups (ethnic minorities, immigrants, others);
  • gender perspectives

Please send a 250 word abstract and a short biography to Marzia Varutti and Silje Opdahl Mathisen by September 8th, 2014. Abstracts will be accepted by the conference organisers. Accepted contributors will be informed by early autumn. Conference fees: participants will have to take charge of travel and accommodation expenses. We are seeking funding to keep conference fees at a minimum. Detailed information about this will follow.

Keynote speakers
Prof. Christina Kreps, Museum of Anthropology, University of Denver,Colorado
Prof. Gunlög Fur, Linnaeus University, Sweden
Prof. Stein R. Mathisen, Tromsø University, Norway
Dr Birgitta Fossum, Director, Saemien Sijte / South Sami Museum and Cultural Centre, Norway
Mr Henrik Olsen, vice-president of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament

Publication plans
Papers presented at the conference will be included in the conference proceedings, which will be published online. In addition, selected papers will be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Nordic Museology.

Conference organizers
Silje Opdahl Mathisen, Marzia Varutti - Department of Culture and Oriental Studies (IKOS), University of Oslo; Rossella Ragazzi - University of Tromsø; Eva Silven, Nordiska Museet, Stockholm.

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