SHA 2013: Proposed sessions seek presenters

The preliminary Call for Papers for the SHA 2013 conference in Leicester, UK only opened a couple of weeks ago – and already session proposals are being planned.You’ll find some of the first proposed sessions below; if you would like to participate in any of them, please get in touch with the session organisers.

Advertising your session proposal widely is the best way to attract a diverse line-up. You are very welcome to advertise your session on this blog, on the conference event page on Facebook, and sending a tweet with the hashtag #SHA2013 will earn you a retweet from SHA to its more than 1,300 followers on Twitter. Do feel free to make use of email lists too; the Histarch and CHAT (Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory) lists are the obvious ones, but do consider others, such as the World Archaeological Congress for a global audience, or Britarch, if you would like to attract local speakers. The Council for British Archaeology maintains a register of many (mostly European-centred) email lists – you’re bound to know others specific to your specialism.

Here are some proposed sessions:

Archaeology of Reform/Archaeology as Reform

Megan Springate, University of Maryland

Loosely defined, reform sites are places associated with the main purpose of reforming or bettering those they serve, or society at large. They include schools, churches, protest sites, women’s holiday houses, homes of reformers, etc. This session explores similarities and differences across various types of reform sites and through time and discusses the various ways that reform processes and experiences manifest in the archaeological record. This session also explores how the archaeology of reform sites can itself be considered reformative in the context of today’s society.

Megan Springate is a Doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland. Email mes@umd.edu

Reconsidering Archaeologies of Creativity

Timothy Scarlett, Michigan Technological University

Human creativity is fundamental to understanding the transformations brought about by both globalization and immigration, the dual themes of the 2012 conference. People act and react creatively to these processes, in mundane and grand ways, individually and collectively. Thus, creativity intertwines and entangles its processes with all human interactions. The process and contexts of creative action, as well as the concept of creativity itself, can be understood from psychological, behavioral, social, humanistic, and philosophical perspectives. Individual persons and groups derive creativity from the cultural improvisations of social interactions surrounding economic, religious, technological, recreational, and familial activities; movement through spaces and among places; rituals; and the shifting practices of daily life. While archaeologists have produced numerous studies of human’s creative responses, we have given less attention to creativity itself, particularly in those archaeologies of the modern world. Scholars in the sciences and humanities have been able to describe some of the processes and contexts of creative action in the human experience, but those insights have not lead to creativity’s rationalization or “corporate domestication.”

I welcome archaeological studies that critically explore creativity from different perspectives, including:

- the social construction of creative process

- contexts of creative action, like work and play

- archaeological perspectives on creativity and the brain

- creativity and social change

- creativity and adaptation

- improvisation and creativity

- creativity and behavior

- creativity, capitalism, and entrepreneurial culture

- prehistory vs. history in understanding creativity

- detailed case studies of creative action, as critiques or assessment of creativity

Please contact Timothy Scarlett by May 1st, 2012 to express interest.

Timothy Scarlett is Associate Professor of Archaeology at Michigan Technological University; Timothy’s contact details are here.

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About Emma Dwyer

Emma is currently a postgraduate research student at Leicester University's Centre for Historical Archaeology, having previously worked for commercial archaeology units and museums across the UK. She is the social media liaison for the SHA 2013 conference in Leicester, and treasurer of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, which she encourages you all to join: http://www.spma.org.uk/
  • Mary Furlong

    Great session ideas! I will be putting one together with papers co-written with stakeholders. Anyone interested in participating is welcome to contact Mary Furlong at mfurlong@umd.edu. Here is the title and abstract:

    What’s at Stake?
    Archaeological Experience Examined through Co-Authorship with Stakeholders

    For the last several decades archaeologists have worked to develop
    collaborative relationships with descendant communities, affected groups, and
    the general public. Building on these efforts, this symposium will focus on
    bringing these stakeholder groups into the archaeological process through
    co-authorship. All of the papers in this session are co-authored
    by archaeologists and members of a stakeholder group.  By incorporating stakeholder groups into the
    writing process as well as giving equal credit to their contributions through
    authorship, archaeologists and stakeholder groups reshape the power dynamics in
    their relationship and can create a richer understanding of the communities in
    which they work.

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