Call for Papers

Our Satura Lanx presents papers on any topics concerned with the relationship between archaeology and the contemporary world. Submissions to this section are open throughout the year.

Our Topic of the Year section includes articles that analyse a specific subject. Our choice for 2019 is Museum Archaeology: Social engagement, active participation and community empowerment. Papers related to this section must be submitted by the deadline indicated below in this Call for Papers.

For further information about sections, submissions and review process, click here.

Museum Archaeology: Social engagement, active participation and community empowerment

Museums live within society and change in step with cultural, social and political transformations. They are facing the challenges of the modern global world and are charged with high responsibilities in the communication of the heritage they represent. Museums as institutions or by virtue of their collections can offer a trusted space to explore such complex social issues. In particular, archaeological museums enable us to experience cultures of the past and show, behind the artefacts, a world different from our own, more or less far from us in time and space. They provide interpretations of material culture that expose what ‘binds and divides’ different individuals and groups in the past and the present, allowing us to interrogate deep-rooted issues of identity and belonging.

For this issue of the journal, we are interested in papers that discuss and assess experiences, projects and implications of social engagement, community empowerment and active participation by the public. We invite critical evaluations of the social role and responsibilities of museums. However we recognize that museums can be differently funded and have complex or mixed financial and organizational models requiring compromises and trade-offs on many fronts. Thus, we also welcome papers that articulate these constraints and difficulties and highlight the economic and practical hurdles to achieving social impact. By way of example, we list below some of the most urgent issues that museums are facing – or should be facing – nowadays. We consequently encourage papers that propose viable suggestions and/or original approaches to such issues.

What about those museums whose works of art and artifacts were illegally smuggled out of their countries of origin? There is strong contradiction between the legally looted objects that are stored in our museums, and the illegal migrants that are crossing our borders. Should museums raise the question of what is truly legal and what is not? Should they deal with migrations from a historical perspective, by means of their artifacts? Should they welcome, rather than exclude, those people whose cultural heritage they are preserving? How could museums nurture the value of respecting forms of otherness relating to gender, origin, ability, and other social, economic and life circumstances? Are museums social justice and human rights champions, acting against racism and any kind of discrimination? Do they pursue post-colonial agendas that allow for multiple perspectives? Do they pursue social justice in every respect?

If archaeological museums were created in the past to house and display artifacts, the museums of the 21st century distinguish themselves for what they do with these collections. Collections are important because they are human-made or -modified artifacts, and because humans regard them as important (or not), as their heritage (or not). Are museums doing enough to put people first and how are they working to achieve this objective?

Any original and innovative contribution that can answer one or more of these or similar compelling questions should be submitted by September 1st, 2019.

Insoll, T. (ed.) 2006. The Archaeology of Identities. A Reader. London-New York: Routledge.

Kadoyama, M. 2018. Museum Involving Communities. Authentic Connections. London-New York: Routledge

Labadi, S. 2018. Museums, Immigrants, and Social Justice. London-New York: Routledge.

Little, B.J. & Shackel, P.A. 2014. Archaeology, Heritage, and Civic Engagement. Working toward the Public Good. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

Murphy, B.L. (ed.) 2016. Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage, London-New York: Routledge.

Onciul, B., Stefano, M.L. & Hawke, S. (eds) 2017. Engaging Heritage, Engaging Communities. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press.

Thomas, S. & Lea, J. (eds) 2014. Public Participation in Archaeology. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press.