Due Today, May 3

AAA Call for Abstracts

Panel: Museums and their Software


Haley Bryant (University of Toronto)

Amanda Sorensen (University of Maryland) 


Keywords: museum anthropology, digital collections, technology use


Recent research has demonstrated the myriad of software and technologies used within museum practice, from collections and digital asset management, to digitization projects (Thomer and Rayburn, 2023; Turner, 2016; Willmot et al., 2016). Aligned with the conference theme, “praxis,” this panel explores technology use within museums as a means of museum praxis, and the impacts it has on descendant communities, researchers, museum staff, etc. Digital systems within museums often digitize existing knowledge infrastructures and organization schemes (Turner, 2020), meaning that settler colonial logics and values imbued within paper cataloging systems were largely transferred into digital formats (Turner, 2020). This is not wholly unique to museum technologies, as work regarding Zoom (Nakamura, Stiverson, and Lindsey, 2021), Google (Noble, 2018; Wen, 2014), and Facebook (Losse, 2014) has documented the racial and gendered implications of these sites and platforms. Broadly, this panel will consider technology usage within museum practice, asking how are these systems supporting or hindering the goals of descendant communities, how do they undo or reinforce dominant power structures, and how are they embedded within museum daily work? 


Some themes/trends to consider:

  • Collaborative museology using digital technologies 
  • Digital catalogs as “instituting genres” (Mee, Sangston, and Porter, 2022)
  • Museum knowledge production via digital projects, including exhibitions, transcription crowdsourcing, etc. 
  • Collections access, Indigenous data sovereignty (Walter and Russo Carroll, 2020), reparative description


Abstracts should be submitted by email to Amanda Sorensen (asorens1@umd.edu) and Haley Bryant (haley.bryant@mail.utoronto.ca) by Friday, May 3 with the following information:


* Name and pronouns
* Institutional affiliation
* Paper title
* Abstract (max 1500 characters)
* Contact information 


please also create a profile for yourself on the AAA website here

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