CALL. 15.03.2017: TAG 2017: The Medium is the Message: Media and Mediation in Archaeology - Toronto
FECHA LÍMITE/DEADLINE/SCADENZA: 15/03/2017
FECHA CONGRESO/CONGRESS DATE/DATA CONGRESSO: 18-19-20/05/2017
LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: TAG NORTH AMERICA, ORGANIZING COMMITTEE;
“The Medium is the Message: Media and Mediation in Archaeology.”
The theme is intentionally broad and highlights how existence is profoundly conditioned by the material world, an issue that has been of central concern to archaeologists as well as to posthumanists and new materialists in other disciplines. In the oft cited aphorism, “the medium is the message,” University of Toronto philosopher Marshall McLuhan (1964) intended to stress how technologies, especially print and later digital media, transformed human cognition and social organization. In a similar vein, archaeological publications commonly declare that social relations, political inequality, and structures of practice were “mediated” by landscapes, ecologies, and assemblages of things and technical orders. In a sense, mediation becomes synonymous with process itself. In a recent publication, Arjun Appadurai (2015) has critiqued Latour and other proponents of the material turn, and he proposes that a focus on “mediants” and “mediation” permits more historically sensitive analyses of the formation of diverse social collectives entangling people, places, and things. At the same time, archaeological research is an inherently mediated enterprise, for interpretation relies on the traces and material signs of past practices. As Zoë Crossland recently noted (2014: 3): “Archaeology is the exemplary discipline of signs, spinning narratives of past worlds around the material detritus left in the wake of human lives.” Thus a diverse number of sessions could be considered, ranging from the effects of new digital media on archaeological inference to the problems inherent in archaeological attempts to mediate or translate indigenous lifeways.
Session themes could also address: mediation and materiality; media and aesthetics; the politics of mediatization; mediation as semiosis, media of archaeological interpretation, trace as medium, media of religion and ideology; the present as medium of the past (space as medium of time and history)—and so forth.
In appreciation of the first President of the University of Toronto, Daniel Wilson (who is credited with coining the term “prehistory”), sessions exploring the history of archaeological thought would also be welcome, along with themes not directly related to media and mediation.