CFP: “Museums Different,” Second Biennial Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology, Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 19-21, 2019

The Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA) has issued a call for papers for its second biennial conference that will take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico from Thursday, September 19th through Saturday, September 21st, 2019. Using the unique position of Santa Fe—the “City Different”—as a starting point for thinking broadly about both local and global approaches to museum anthropology, the conference theme is “Museums Different.”

The conference will be held at Santa Fe’s Museum Hill, home to both the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology and the Museum of International Folk Art. The event includes sessions and activities at the Institute of American Indian Arts as well as an evening reception at the School for Advanced Research. More information on this event and the submission process can be found below.

Call for Papers: Join CMA as we discuss imagined and practical realities of collaboration between anthropology, museums, and communities. With the goal of overcoming institutional silences and so-called mute collections, this conference is about the spaces between the objects on museum shelves
and the communities who created them. The conference will focus on how institutions can close the gaps between the theoretical and ‘doing.’

We welcome proposals and submissions from museum practitioners, scholars, students, Tribal Historic Preservation officers, artists, and all community members. If you are unsure if you or your work would fit into our conference, please reach out and ask. We are more than happy to talk you through your ideas.

Session Formats & Proposals: We are looking to highlight innovative ways of presenting anthropological museum work, and are particularly interested in ways in which your presentation format can contribute to community engagement. Please send us ideas for innovative ways to express
your research—whether it be artist dialogues, roundtables, posters, pop-up exhibitions, workshops, pre-circulated papers, Pecha-Kucha-style sessions, problem-solving sessions, installation works, or anything else you can think of. Nothing is too bold—we will do our best to accommodate your ideas.

Focus: Sessions should explore the imagined and the realities of working between anthropology, museums, and communities. Proposals do not have to respond to the below questions. We are excited to hear how anthropology works where you are.

  • What work have we already completed? How does engagement with the histories of museum anthropology affect our work? How does it make it better or worse? How can we mobilize our institutional pasts to inform and better our community futures?
  • What are the ways in which museum anthropology can better collaborate with communities? How can we and do we live up to our ideals?
  • What does collaboration mean in a day-to-day sense?
  • What are the unintended consequences of collaborative, community-based museum anthropology?
  • What does decolonizing work mean to you, to your collaborators, and in your contexts?
  • What might we stop doing? What hasn’t worked?

Registration and Cost: Registration will open in the coming weeks, and will be available on our soon-to-launch conference website. The conference fee is $125 per person, $60 per student, and $60 per THPO Office.

Funding Opportunities: The Council for Museum Anthropology has limited funding available for student travel. We are offering three grants of $400 each. To apply, please send us a resume/CV and a 500 word statement demonstrating how attendance at the conference will advance your academic or professional goals.

Submission Guidelines and Deadlines: Submissions must be no more than 100 words. All proposals and funding applications are due on June 1, 2019 midnight MST. Applicants will be notified by July 15, 2019. To submit, please send your proposal and preferred presentation format to Please submit your proposal and preferred presentation format the body of the email, rather than as an attachment.

About CMA: A section of the American Anthropological Association, the Council for Museum Anthropology is an all-volunteer membership organization that serves anthropologists and museum professionals. CMA’s mission is to foster the development of anthropology in the context of
museums and related institutions. See the CMA’s website and blog for more information.


  1. josé luis ramos

    April 2, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Aceptarían ponencias en español o sólo deben ser en inglés?

    • I asked the conference organizers, and they replied “We are unfortunately unable to accept papers in any language other than English at this time. I apologize for the inconvenience.”

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