Material Encounters

February 4-6, 2015, Conference Room, National Library of Australia

The focus of this conference is the materiality of knowledge produced through personal encounters with people and places. Papers will address multiple ways in which such knowledge is materialized historically – in charts and maps; journals, letters, and reports; sketches, paintings, and photographs; artefacts and other objects; human and animal remains; legends, cartouches, captions, labels, marginalia, and notes. The primary span is Oceania (Australia, New Guinea, Aotearoa-New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and Island Southeast Asia), with comparative materials from other parts of the world.

The conference themes include:

  • How knowledge generated on the ground or in the field attaches to and is expressed through material forms of inscription
  • The relationships between these materials and their generation or acquisition in situ, their emotional trappings, their archiving, conservation, distribution, or dispersal
  • How such materials mediate between spatial or interpersonal encounters and later publications or between local, regional, and global perspectives
  • The power of place, spatial orientation (cardinality), and time as material elements in encounters
  • The significance of these issues for creative, critical, transdisciplinary scholarship

The keynote speakers are: Felix Driver, Professor of Human Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London; and Ricardo Roque, research fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon.

Concurrently with the conference, the National Library of Australia will hold a small ‘white-gloves’ viewing of relevant items from its collections.

Convenors: Bronwen Douglas; Chris Ballard

Administrator: Graeme Whimp

The conference is funded by the Australian Research Council and the Research School of Asia and the Pacific (ANU), with generous support from the National Library of Australia and the Department of Pacific and Asian History, School of Culture, History and Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

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Posted: December 24, 2014