Sunday, October 22, 2017

After 87 Years At The Smithsonian, Bones Of Alaska Natives Returned And Reburied

NPR, October 21, 2017

"Anthropologists once excavated the graves of thousands of Native Americans. Now museums in the U.S. are slowly working to return those remains and funerary objects to tribes.

A village in southwest Alaska recently reburied 24 of their ancestors who had been excavated by a Smithsonian anthropologist in 1931.

About half of the village of Igiugig crowded into the Russian Orthodox Church in the center of town on a drizzly fall day. In the center of the nave sat three handmade, wooden coffins that held the bones from the now-abandoned settlement of Kaskanak.

The remains were unearthed by Aleš Hrdlička, who was the head of the anthropology department in what is now the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. The question of how people originally came to North America and from where drove Hrdlička to dig up the bones of Native Americans all around the United States. Historians estimate that he took thousands to Washington, D.C., for research.

After more than eight decades in the museum's collection, Igiugig's ancestors finally returned home for reburial.

The community of Igiugig is majority Yupik, a people group native to Alaska.

Annie Wilson, an elder in the village, attended the funeral service and explained that Hrdlička's excavation was fundamentally objectionable in Yupik culture."

More here

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Artist in Residence Fellowships, Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research

The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) at the School for Advanced Research (SAR) offers three artist in residence fellowships annually to advance the work of mature and emerging Native artists. Each fellowship includes a monthly stipend, housing, studio space, a supplies allowance, and travel reimbursement to and from SAR. These fellowships provide time for artists to explore new avenues of creativity, grapple with new ideas to further advance their work, and strengthen existing talents. The fellowships support diverse creative disciplines and can include sculpture, performance, basketry, painting, printmaking, digital art, mixed media, photography, pottery, writing, and film and video. However each fellowship has specific applicant criteria as indicated below.

Ronald and Susan Dubin Native Artist Fellowship (June 15 - August 15, 2018) 
The Dubin Fellowship is dedicated to supporting traditional Native artistry.

Rollin and Mary Ella King Native Artist Fellowship (September 1 - December 1, 2018) 
The King Fellowship is dedicated to preserving the Southwest.

Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native Artist Fellowship for Women (March 1 - May 31, 2019) 
The Dobkin Fellowship encourages the creativity and growth of indigenous women artists working in any media.
Application and Fellowship FAQ available at 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

SAR Community + Museums Guidelines Now Available

The following Guidelines were developed over a three-year period of collaboration between Native and non-Native museum professionals, cultural leaders, and artists. The Guidelines are intended as a resource for community members who are working in collaboration with museums. This is not a set of rules; instead, this document offers principles and considerations for building successful collaborations. 

Both sets of guidelines are now available online via the School for the Advanced Research.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA) Symposium Schedule

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA) is hosting a symposium at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History on November 27-28, 2017 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the initial planning for the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology. Since its inception, SIMA has trained 108 graduate students in methods for the use of museum collections to advance the field of anthropology, 41 collections interns to be future museum and archives professionals, and 7 university professors to help integrate museum collections into their teaching. The symposium program will showcase SIMA’s contribution to the field of museum anthropology by featuring the work of former SIMA students and keynote lectures by Howard Morphy, distinguished Professor of Anthropology and founding Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University, and Ruth Phillips, Professor of Art History and Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa. 

Putting Theory & Things Together: Research With Museum Collections
Presentation Schedule -- Monday November 27, 2017
9:30 – 10:30 AM - Keynote 1 – Howard Morphy
10:30 - 10:50 AM - Denise Nicole Green - From Huulthin (Dance Shawls) to Thliitsapilthim (Ceremonial Curtains) to Mamuu (Basketry): Nuu-chah-nulth Textiles in an Ongoing Colonial Context
10:50 - 11:10 AM - Amanda J. Guzman - From Island to Museum: A Comparative Study of Puerto Rican Museum Collections
11:10 – 11:30 AM - Christopher Lowman - Cracked Lacquer: Exploring Value with Ainu Objects
11:30 – 11:50 AM - Eugenia Kisin - “Bad Art” from a “Dark Age”: Inferior Objects, Mixed Affect, and Indigenous Pedagogies on the Northwest Coast
1:20 – 1:40 PM - Christopher Patrello - What Does an Ethnographic Collection Look Like?
1:40 – 2:00 PM - Catherine Brooke Penaloza Patzak - The Material Ties that Bind: North American Anthropology, Bastian, Boas, and Beyond
2:00 – 2:20 PM - Sarah Richardson - Molakana and Kuna Communities in Panama and Colombia
2:20 – 2:40 PM - Catherine Nichols - Specimen Exchange in the Mid-Twentieth Century: Intersections of Collecting Institutions, Knowledge Production Practices, and Anthropologists
3:10 – 3:30 PM – Krista Zawadski - The Nunavut Collection
3:30 – 3:50 PM - Carolyn Smith - Tracing Karuk Tribe Perspectives of Basketry in Museums
3:50 – 4:10 PM - Anna Weinreich - Caring for Garment: Some Reflections on the History, Materiality, and Conservation of Possum Skin Cloaks
4:10 – 4:30 PM - Mikael Muehlbauer - Materiality, Ritual and Kingship in the Rhinoceros Horn Beakers of King Menelik II
5:00 PM - Poster Session (Executive Conference Room)
6:00 PM - Reception (Executive Conference Room)
Tuesday November 28, 2017
9:30 – 9:50 AM - Alessandro Questa - Domesticating the Other. Understanding Museum Masks Collections and Masewal Masked Dancing in Mexico Today
9:50 – 10:10 AM - Kaitlin Brown - Community and Cultural Resiliency in Chumash Basketweaving
10:10 – 10:30 AM - Adrian Van Allen - Flight Paths Through the Museum: The Circulation of Bird Specimens
10:30 – 10:50 AM - Hadley W. Jensen - Visualizing Craft: James Mooney and the Cultures of Collecting and Display in the American Southwest
10:50 – 11:10 AM - Sowparnika Balaswaminathan - The Material, Personal, and Political: Negotiating Indian Values for American Museums
12:50 – 1:50 PM – Keynote 2 Ruth Phillips
1:50 – 2:30 PM – Closing

Call for Papers: Breaking the Silence: Heritage Objects and Cultural Memory

Convenors: Alison Brown (University of Aberdeen) and Maria-Katharina Lang (Austrian Academy of Sciences)  

Art, Materiality and Representation conference organised by the RAI and the British Museum’s Department for Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Clore Centre of the British Museum and Department of Anthropology at SOAS, London, 1-3 June 2018    

In Biographical Objects: How Things Tell the Stories of People's Lives, Janet Hoskins (1998) observed that "when words fail us, our possessions speak". Taking this observation as a starting point, the papers in this panel will consider how heritage objects now in museums have the capacity to break silences surrounding cultural and ritual practices that became entrenched during periods of political repression and colonisation. In some regions, for example, those exposed to Soviet rule, Stalinist persecutions led to the confiscation or destruction of objects and the buildings used to house them. In other places, colonial regimes contributed to the disruption of knowledge and of the skills involved in making and using associated objects. In other cases, socio-political upheaval and the resulting dislocation led to people becoming exiled from their homes and material surroundings, sometimes for generations. In such contexts, words may have failed because it was too dangerous to speak. The wounds of these societies are part of the memories and narrations today being awakened during encounters mediated by museums between heritage objects and those who were formerly silenced. Contributors to this panel are invited to consider the stories that such heritage objects can evoke. What challenges to established narratives do they pose? How can they contribute to gaps in knowledge created by political and cultural repression? What is the remedial capacity of such objects? And what are the implications for the museums that house them and for anthropological understanding of the relations between people and things more broadly?

Monday, October 09, 2017

Fellowship Opportunity: Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program

The Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program is now accepting applications. Since 2000, the AJC Fellows Program has provided a unique educational opportunity for graduate students and seniors to learn about the Holocaust in situ in the context of Poland’s history and Jewish heritage. Through travel in Poland for three weeks, during which time Fellows visit Krakow, Warsaw, Lódź, Treblinka, and Oświęcim (Auschwitz), Fellows gain not only knowledge of the Holocaust sites they visit, but also an understanding of the legacy of the Holocaust in Poland, its effects on collective memory, and complexities surrounding such categories as victim, bystander, and perpetrator. All program costs, except travel to the program’s start in New York, are covered.
Faculty participation is available through the Faculty Fellows Program.  
The Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program will run from June 24 - July 16, 2018. Theapplication is due on January 14, 2018. Candidates of all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Call for Papers: Context and Meaning XVII: Complete Imperfection, The Graduate Visual Culture Association of Queen’s University

We are pleased to announce the 17th annual Context & Meaning Graduate Student Conference, taking place at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, from Friday, February 2nd to Saturday, February 3rd 2018. We are seeking papers that address this year’s theme, “Complete Imperfection.” The conference will provide an inclusive and broadly defined forum that facilitates academic discussion while encompassing an abundant range of topics. In choosing this intentionally multi-disciplinary theme we would like to encourage discussion about imperfection, impermanence, and ephemerality within Visual Culture Studies.

Some potential themes and ideas to consider may include:
- What does ‘finished’ mean? When is a work finished? When does it fail?
- Collaborative practices, ‘hidden’ voices in scholarly practices 
- Absence/Presence 
- Impermanent, ever-changing, in-flux art
- Art conservation versus restoration
- Imperfect society, failed Utopias
- The unattainability of ideal human beauty
- Nature as an artistic model, ideals of femininity and masculinity
- Technology in art and its limitations 
- Critiquing the canon or hegemonic narratives, alternatives to Euro-American ideals of perfection, debunking the artistic genius

We encourage applications from graduate students working in Art History, Art Conservation, Studio Art, Digital Humanities, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies, Religious Studies, Gender Studies and students from various Humanities fields whose research responds to this year’s theme. This conference is open to both historical and contemporary topics. Submissions are welcome from current graduate students, as well as those who have completed their graduate studies within the last year. We seek to assemble a diverse group of scholars in order to foster interdisciplinary discussions. Presenters will be allotted 20 minutes to deliver their papers, followed by a 10-minute discussion period. A poster session on the conference theme, featuring complete and incomplete research, will also be held during the conference; please see the attached sheet if you would like more information on how to create an academic poster. 

If you are interested in speaking, performing or submitting a poster at Context and Meaning XVII, please email an abstract of no more than 300 words with the title of your paper, along with a separate document that includes a 250-word bio, to Please ensure that your name and the title of your paper are included in your letter of introduction and on your abstract. The deadline to submit an abstract will be: Wednesday, November 8th 2017. Thank you to all who apply! 

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Position Announcement: Director, Director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

The UNM College of Arts and Sciences invites applications for a faculty position in the Department of Anthropology at the level of Full Professor with tenure, Associate Professor with tenure, or probationary tenure track Associate Professor (as applicable) to begin August, 2018. The successful candidate will serve as the Director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology on a 5-year term basis (may be renewed), and will also teach in the Department. We seek a scholar who will complement a three-subfield department (including archaeology, ethnology and evolutionary anthropology) with national recognition for scholarship and graduate training.

Applications received by November 15, 2017 will receive best consideration. The position will remain open until filled. A complete application consists of: 1) letter of intent addressing the applicant's qualifications for the position, 2) a description of the applicant's current research activities, teaching interests and experience, 3) five-year research plan, 4) current CV, 5) a vision statement for the Maxwell museum, and 6) full contact information of three professional references. All application materials must be submitted via Requisition # 2607. The University of New Mexico is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women and Minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Minimum Qualifications:
PhD in Anthropology or related field has been awarded by time of appointment.
Two years of prior museum employment by start of appointment.
Evidence of an active research program as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and grant funding.
Experience in supervising employees and managing budgets.

Preferred Qualifications:
Evidence of extensive experience in museum administration, including in a university setting.
Evidence of successful institutional fundraising and development.
Evidence of curatorial and/or collections management.
Evidence of public outreach to diverse communities.
Evidence of leadership and ability to foster multidisciplinary research to complement existing strengths in UNM Anthropology.
Demonstrated teaching experience at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels.
Evidence of an established extramurally funded research program in any of the subfields of anthropology.
Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success, as well as working with broadly diverse communities.