CFP: North American Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) 2016


Call for Papers
North American Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) 2016
Theme: “Bolder Theory: time, matter, ontology and the archaeological difference”

We have all been inspired by theory. At one stage or another in our archaeological careers, we’ve encountered thinking that prompted us to ask new questions, work with new models and heuristics, pursue new lines of empirical enquiry, expose ourselves to inter-disciplinary thought, question our operating assumptions, or confirm our unspoken ideas and inclinations. Bold theory: theory that makes a difference – to us, to the discipline, to those we work with, and perhaps to other disciplines and our public partners.

This year the conference’s setting in Boulder, Colorado merges with our theme: what is bolder theory? Across the academy we sense an increased interest in things, in the matter of life. At the same time archaeologists are taking descendent and stakeholder communities seriously, including an increased commitment to consider alternate, non-Western philosophies and values. Collectively these ideas are provoking bold theorizing in archaeology. The plenary session will get us thinking about bold theory through considering the congruence of non-Western philosophies and theoretical approaches that take, to varying degree, a relational perspective on people and things. While issues of ontology, indigenous philosophy, animism and temporality will form the basis of the plenary session conversation, we encourage participants to consider bold theory in the broadest sense and sessions need not be limited to these topics.

  • Bold theory and ontology: questioning human exceptionalism
  • Bold theory and agency: challenging what it is to be human, and who/what are the agents of the past
  • Bold theory and things: non-Cartesian and non-Western ideas of materiality
  • Bold theory and practice: emergent modes of documenting the past
  • Bold theory and heritage: alternate values for the past and questioning the “Past”
  • Bold theory and epistemology: multiple ways of knowing the past, including non-Western criteria
  • Bold theory and temporality: theories of entanglement, relationality, networks, and symmetry transforming how we think of time
  • Bold theory as trans-disciplinary: archaeology’s expertise with time and materials as our contribution to other disciplines
  • Bold theory as the archaeological difference: is archaeological thinking on time, matter and ontology provoking and inspiring us as bold theory should? If so, how will such bolder theory transform the discipline for the future? If it falls short, what are the criticisms, the alternatives?

Session Proposals | January 10, 2016
Paper Proposals | Opens January 10, 2016 | Deadline February 22, 2016
Session Rosters | March 1, 2016
Early Registration | March 1, 2016


Contact: [email protected]