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CALL. 15.08.2020 [SESSION 1]: The Lives of Things in Human Mindscapes: Developing Approaches to Cognition in Archaeology (TAG2020) - Leicester (England)









LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO:  (Leicester, England)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Emanuele Prezioso; Antonis Iliopoulos.


INFO:  web - -




What does it mean to say that things are ‘alive’ when referring to the archaeology of mind? This question seems to be of primary significance in cognitive archaeology (Malafouris and Renfrew 2010).The emergence   of   ‘new   materialism(s)’,   along   with   post-humanist   and   non-representationalist  perspectives,  has  given social  scientists  new  ways  to  conceive of objects and  things  as  living  entities. ‘Symmetry’  (Olsen  et  al.  2012), ‘interaction’  (Gamble  2007), ‘entanglement’ (Hodder 2012), ‘assemblage’ (Fowler 2017), and ‘indexicality’ (Preucel 2006) are  only  some  of  the  concepts  used  by  archaeologists seeking  to  highlight  the  active participation  of  things  in  the  worlds inhabited  by  humans.

In  cognitive  archaeology,this ‘material  turn’has  been  mainly  driven  by  atheoretical  framework  known  as  Material Engagement Theory(in short,MET; Malafouris 2013). For MET, things are not the result of a priori thoughts imposed on matter. They are, instead, constitutive elements of thinking as it emerges  in situated contexts  of  material  engagement. Of  course,the  situated  processes  that give rise to the human ‘mindscape’, so to speak (Malafouris 2012), extend beyond the micro-scale of the situated individual. Appreciating how things shape the mind requires attending to the communities of practice occupying the meso-scale, as well as the inter-regional networks linking them at the macro-scale (Knappett2005,2011).

The aim of this session thus rests at tracing the multi-scalar dynamics of cognition, whether be   it   through ‘material   engagement’,   ‘archaeological   semiotics’ or any   other non-anthropocentric approach. All contexts of analysis are welcome.


To submit a paper you need a title and an abstract, which should be no more than 250 words long. Please send your abstract to the session organisers not us here at TAG2020, it’s up the individuals running sessions to decide who is included. The session organisers will get back to you and let you know whether they think your paper fits in their session or not.


The call for papers will be open until the 1st of September.


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