Smithsonian Names New Leader of National Museum of the American Indian

Via The New York Times, January 19, 2022

The Smithsonian Institution has named Cynthia Chavez Lamar as the new director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Chavez Lamar — who is a member of San Felipe Pueblo, a Native American tribe in New Mexico’s middle Rio Grande Valley — will assume the post on Feb. 14.

“I don’t see this as something that I have achieved on my own,” Chavez Lamar, who is also of Hopi, Tewa and Navajo heritage, said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“There are many Native and Indigenous peoples before me who have been in prominent roles,” she added, “who have struggled and persevered to ensure that our stories and our perspectives as Native people were heard.”

More here.

Call for Applications: Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards for African Students Enrolled in South African Ph.D. Programmes

“Who defines the needs of the people and the related epistemologies that serve them?” (Karp & Masolo 2000:10)


1985! People’s Parks, Sites of Struggle and the Politics of Plants, one of two 2022 African Critical Inquiry Programme Workshops, will explore many dimensions of the People’s Parks created in 1985 and how we understand them today. ‘Freedom in our lifetime’, Soweto. Peter Setuke, City Press, 03.01.1986, People’s Parks Archive, courtesy of Steven Sack.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: IVAN KARP DOCTORAL RESEARCH AWARDS FOR AFRICAN STUDENTS ENROLLED IN SOUTH AFRICAN Ph.D. PROGRAMMES 

Closing Date: Monday 2 May 2022

             The African Critical Inquiry Programme is pleased to announce the 2022 Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards to support African doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled at South African universities and conducting dissertation research on relevant topics. Grant amounts vary depending on research plans, with a maximum award of ZAR 40,000.

            The African Critical Inquiry Programme (ACIP) seeks to advance inquiry and debate about the roles and practice of public culture, public cultural institutions, and public scholarship in shaping identities and society in Africa. The ACIP is committed to collaboration between scholars and the makers of culture/history, and to fostering inquiry into the politics of knowledge production, the relationships between the colonial/apartheid and the postcolonial/postapartheid, and the importance of critical pluralism as against nationalist discourse. ACIP is a partnership between the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape and the Laney Graduate School of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (USA).

ELIGIBILITY: The Ivan Karp Doctoral Research Awards are open to African postgraduate students (regardless of citizenship) in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Applicants must be currently registered in a Ph.D. programme in a South African university and be working on topics related to ACIP’s focus. Awards will support doctoral research projects focused on topics such as institutions of public culture, particular aspects of museums and exhibitions, forms and practices of public scholarship, culture and communication, and the theories, histories, and systems of thought that shape and illuminate public culture and public scholarship. Applicants must submit a dissertation proposal that has been approved by their institution to confirm the award; this must be completed before they begin ACIP-supported on-site research or by December 2022, whichever comes first.

More here.

Position Announcement: Associate Director, Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

The Associate Director will work collaboratively with the Director to fulfill the educational mission of the museum through its exhibitions, programming, acquisitions, and engagement with faculty, staff, students and the community of Providence and surrounding areas. This position is responsible for managing and providing leadership for the administrative, financial, and human resources operations to fulfill the museum’s objectives.

Candidates must have a doctoral degree in anthropology or museum studies and 5 to 7 years of experience in an academic museum.

More here.

Rubin Museum to Return Nepalese Relics Thought to Have Been Stolen

Via The New York Times, January 10, 2022

The Rubin Museum of Art announced on Monday that it would return two sculptures to Nepal after researchers working for the museum concluded that smugglers had stolen the carved wooden artifacts from religious sites.

“We are deeply grateful,” Nepal’s acting consul general, Bishnu Prasad Gautam, said in a statement. “The proactive response and thoughtful collaboration from the Rubin have positively contributed to Nepal’s national efforts to recover the lost artifacts.”

The museum credited a nonprofit called the Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign for playing a role in the repatriation by calling attention to questions about the history of the items. In September, a Twitter account affiliated with the recovery campaign had postedconcerns that the wooden relics had been stolen

The recovery campaign had a role in the return of at least seven relics last year from cultural institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.”

More here.

Position Announcement: Assistant Collections Manager, Anthropology Collections, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science seeks an Assistant Collections Manager in the Integrative Collections Branch to support the Anthropology Collections. The Anthropology Collections currently hold approximately 500,000 artifacts in the areas of Archaeology and Ethnology; the collections are largely from North America, but represent cultures from around the world. This position supports the efforts to preserve and protect the collections on a long-term basis, increase access and grow scientific output, to manage and expand collections, and to help inspire diverse communities’ understanding of, and involvement in, anthropology and the natural world.

This position supports the collections and research activities of the Department of Anthropology as it aspires to curate the best understood and most ethically held anthropology collection in North America. The Department seeks to document and understand the human communities of the Rocky Mountain region and beyond through study of their material cultures while adhering to the guiding principles of respect, reciprocity, justice, and dialogue.

Essential duties: 

  • Assists with professional collections management for all collections.

  • Assists with the accession, deaccession, documentation, registration, and preparation of collections as assigned.

  • Implements training, monitoring, and daily supervision of interns and volunteers as assigned.

  • Responds to internal and external queries and requests, and facilitates use of collections.

  • Assists in maintaining collections metadata, including digital records and associated multimedia files.

  • Implements and ensures adherence to all safety protocols in collections.

  • Supports and delivers internal and external outreach programs as appropriate or required.

  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum qualifications/Requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology or related field required.

  • 1 year museum collections management experience required.

  • 1 year relational database experience required.

  • Occasional local and out of state travel required.

  • Evening and weekend shifts as needed required.

  • Ability to handle culturally sensitive items and human ancestral remains according to cultural and departmental protocols required.

  • The Museum loves science. As a science institution, the Museum believes in the science behind vaccines. Effective September 1, 2021, all persons offered a position will be required to provide valid proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 prior to starting employment.

All applicants must submit a cover letter and resume to be considered, along with the online application form.

More here.

Reminder: Call for Applicants: 2022 Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology is a graduate student summer training program in museum research methods offered through the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History with major funding from the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation.

Summer 2022 dates are June 13—July 8. 

During four weeks of intensive training in seminars and hands-on workshops at the museum and an off-site collections facility, students are introduced to the scope of collections and their potential as data. Students become acquainted with strategies for navigating museum systems, learn to select methods to examine and analyze museum specimens, and consider a range of theoretical issues that collections-based research may address. In consultation with faculty, each student carries out preliminary data collection on a topic of their own choice and develops a prospectus for research to be implemented upon return to their home university. Visiting faculty members for 2022 will be announced in the coming months. Local faculty will include Dr. Joshua A. Bell, SIMA director and Dr. Candace Greene Director emeritus of SIMA as well as other Smithsonian Institution Department of Anthropology curators and staff. 

Who should apply?: Graduate students preparing for research careers in cultural anthropology who are interested in using museum collections as a data source. The program is not designed to serve students seeking careers in museum management. Students at both the masters and doctoral level will be considered for acceptance. Students in related interdisciplinary programs (Indigenous Studies, Folklore, etc.) are welcome to apply if the proposed project is anthropological in nature. All U.S. students are eligible for acceptance, even if studying abroad. International students can be considered only if they are enrolled in a university in the U.S. Canadian First Nation members are eligible under treaty agreements. 

Costs:  The program covers students’ tuition and shared housing in local furnished apartments. A small stipend will be provided to assist with the cost of food and other local expenses. Participants are individually responsible for the cost of travel to and from Washington, DC. 

Application deadline: March 1, 2022

For more information and to apply, please visit https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/anthropology/programs/summer-institute-museum-anthropology 

Fellowship Announcement: New Archival Visions, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape

The fellowships allow for bursary funding for a period of up to four years (or earlier depending on completion of degree programme). These fellowships form part of the university’s initiative to reactivate its archival holdings that include the UWC-Robben Island Museum-Mayibuye Archives and other specialised research and art collections on campus. Candidates are invited to submit proposals for doctoral thesis research that should address one or more specific collection, theme or organizational entity that forms part of the UWC archives. Proposals may be located either within a specific discipline or within interdisciplinary studies.

The new archival turn proposed here is one that invites engagement with histories, media, performances and curating in a transforming South Africa and subcontinent that may unsettle traditional definitions of the archive. While the content of the archive offers rich opportunities for research, “it is rarely a simple matter of revealing secrets waiting to be found” (Arondekar 2009). The Mayibuye collections for example have emerged as a preeminent centre of historical interpretation of the anti-apartheid struggle, and yet there is a need to acknowledge components that remain marginal, less intelligible, or which undermine dominant national narratives. Proposals are invited that explore questions of how subjects are made visible in archives of liberation, and how this might shed light on their structuring, limits, and potential. The archival responsibility underpinning this initiative at UWC is to foster new research directions that transcend the notion of simple archival retrieval and promote a “radically different script of historical continuation” (Arondekar) that opens both lost and new futures.

More here.

Call for Applications: TheMuseumsLab 2022

TheMuseumsLab is a platform for joint learning, exchange and continuing education on the future of museums in both Africa and Europe. The programme started in 2021 has the aim to establish close and lasting networks between future shapers of museum concepts on both sides.

The project was developed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the Master‘s Programme in Museum Management and Communication at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Berlin, in close cooperation with the African consultancy group The Advisors. Several African and European museums as well as cultural institutions are partners with the programme. The project is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office and supported by the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

More here.

Call for Papers: Open Data: Reuse, Redistribution, and Risk, American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society’s Library & Museum invites scholars in all fields to submit paper proposals for a daylong interdisciplinary symposium that will explore the opportunities and challenges of open data and digital humanities. As institutions have made datasets accessible for re-use, remixing, and redistribution, individuals have been able to produce new useful knowledge beyond restrictions or control. Classrooms and Digital Humanities projects have created powerful visualizations and complex analyses which shed new light on important historic and contemporary issues. Yet the increasing availability of these sources has raised important questions about intellectual property, attribution, labor, and data sovereignty. 

The symposium is inspired by the Open Data Initiative (https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/data) of the Center for Digital Scholarship at the American Philosophical Society. This initiative has created freely accessible datasets (https://github.com/AmericanPhilosophicalSociety) from the APS’s Library & Museum holdings, including the Eastern State Penitentiary Records of Admissions, 1838-1850; Benjamin Franklin’s Ledgers; Records of Indentures and Apprenticeships in the Port of Philadelphia, 1771-1773; Benjamin Franklin’s Accounts; and James Madison’s Montpelier Meteorological Records, 1784-1793, as well as various digital humanities projects derived from this data.

More here.