13 October 2014

Call for papers: Weapons and the Anthropology Museum

The Horniman Museum and Gardens, like many other anthropology museums, holds vast weaponry collections from across the globe.

In reviewing these collections as part of the Collections, People, Stories project (2012-2015) and planning for a potential re-display, we have been confronted with many of the complex intellectual and ethical questions regarding their interpretation and display.

This two-day conference, to be held on the 26th - 27th February 2015 seeks to address and debate a number of questions including:

How can / should anthropology museums in the 21st century display 
their weapons?
How can the specific historical contexts in which weapons were made,
used and collected be translated to contemporary audiences?
Should and can we engage with the portrayal and debate of warfare,
brutality, violence and loss in today’s world?
How do these objects reinforce ideas of the ‘primitive’ and ‘otherness’ in
their representation/misrepresentation of cultures as violent?
How can weapon collections be used within public engagement
How can we unpack the multiple meanings and uses of weapons
recognising their importance as status makers, artistic expressions and
performance and initiation objects etc. without ignoring their potential 
to kill/harm.
What are the different socio-political considerations and implication
regarding the display of European, African, Asian and Pacific

We strongly encourage papers from museum colleagues who work with similar collections from both curatorial and public engagement perspectives, anthropologists working in areas covered by the Horniman collections and archaeologists keen to engage with anthropology collections and debate.

Please send a 200 word abstract and a hundred word speaker biography to Tom Crowley by  
November 1st 2014.

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