CFP: TAG Gainesville May 11-13, 2018

TAG Gainesville 2018 Theme: Matter Matters

Even as it has long aspired to legitimacy as a discipline of inquiry through an engagement with theory, archaeology as a practice is literally grounded in the physical matter that makes up the enduring traces of human existences. Theory is, by definition, conceptual or immaterial, but its productive application requires attention to matter. That is, matter matters. Matter has its own properties, agencies, vibrancies, durations, and biographies, all of which may lend support to, or alternatively constrain or resist, the various theoretical concepts archaeologists employ to orient their analyses and explications of human experiences. This theme is intended to encompass all the different aspects of matter—matter matters—in archaeology at all spatial and temporal scales, from molecules to landscapes, with a focus on human-matter interactions. A certain dynamism—as flow, perdurance, or transformation—is implied in attending to matter, which is never static. The virtual or potential properties of matter are actualized in both anthropogenic and environmental processes. They therefore have consequences for human intentions, practices, and projects. Economies, religions, and politics are shaped by the properties and spatial distributions of matter. Furthermore, archaeological analyses are driven by our discipline’s particular categorizations and measurements of matter, which will likely conflict with those of the peoples we investigate.

Call for Sessions and Papers

TAG Gainesville welcomes sessions and papers on any and all of these matters pertaining to human-matter interactions past and present. Suggested titles include the following as examples of theoretical approaches to matter: matter theory, matter metaphysics, matter politics, making/unmaking matter, matter alchemy, entangling matter, assembling matter, transforming matter/transforming selves, moving matter, bodily matters, living matter/decaying matter, matter methods, scaling matter, mind and matter, sensing matter, matter in time. Because matter as a construct evokes its opposite, sessions on anti-matter and virtual matter are equally welcome. Sessions may also address theories of matter for specific materials: lithic, ceramic, faunal, metal, soil, water, feather, horn, textile, and so forth. These sessions may incorporate demonstrations of working with matter; contact the organizers for information on special needs for such demonstrations.

Anyone can submit a proposal for a session that may include up to ten 20-minute papers. Proposals for sessions (title, organizer, and 250-word abstract) may be submitted with some or all of the session participants pre-identified, or they may leave it open to anyone contributing a paper who considers their topic relevant to the proposed session topic. Authors of contributed papers are asked to contact the session organizer(s) if they wish to present in that session. However, contributed papers on the theme “Matter Matters” can be submitted in the absence of any pre-organized session. Presenters of contributed papers should submit a title, list of authors, and 250 word abstract. Conference organizers reserve the right to assign contributed papers to appropriate sessions or create new sessions out of papers on a similar topic. A growing list of proposed sessions can be found under the “Session Abstracts” link of the TAG 2018 homepage. Go to the “Registration” link to upload proposals for sessions and papers, or to simply register as an attendee.

Contributors are allowed only one conference role as first author of a paper and one additional role as organizer, second author, or discussant. 

Special Call for Artist’s Proposals

TAG Gainesville invites artists to present their original works as they relate to the theme “Matter Matters.” More information will be forthcoming regarding exhibition space and installation requirements.

If you have any questions about an organized session or contributed papers, please contact the conference organizers at The deadline to propose an organized session is January 15, 2018, and for all papers (contributed or identified as part of an organized session) is March 16, 2018.

The deadline to register and pay the pre-registration fee is March 16, 2018.