CFP: Objects of Trade

From the Ethnomuseums listserv:

Objects of trade
Museum Ethnographers’ Group Annual UK Conference 2007, Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 May
At the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

The importance of exchange in creating and sustaining relationships has long been one of the fundamental tenets of anthropology. Trade, sometimes assumed to be primarily an economic transaction, also involves the development of relationships that link groups together. Trading relationships do not just involve exchanges of goods, but rather are part of a wider system of circulating values. Such relationships may have profound effects, particularly when they involve representatives of different cultural groups, as different systems of value come into contact with one another. Collections of ethnographic artefacts have often been acquired through trade, predominantly within the context of European expansion and the development of empire. The movement of artefacts, people and ideas has created shared histories, albeit ones whose tangible location is now often found and interpreted in European museums.

The conference sessions will explore trading relationships and the development of museum collections, particularly when related to the maritime context of empire, and the significance of such collections to communities today. Sessions to consider:• The impact of trading relationships on different cultural groups• Collecting activity and the maritime context• The formation of museum collections through trading relationships• The contemporary significance of historic trading relationships A work in progress session is planned for up-to-date information on current and on-going projects (informal 5-10 minute presentations required). Papers from the conference may be considered for publication in the Journal of Museum Ethnography.

For further information or to propose papers or sessions contact:Claire Warrior, Curator of Exhibitions, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF, United KingdomTel: +44 20 8312 8562 Email: The closing date for submissions is Friday 16 March.


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