Ortiz Center Director to participate in Invited Session at the annual American Anthropological Association meetings in San Jose, CA


Posted:  Nov 08, 2018 - 12:00am

Lea McChesney, Ortiz Center Director, Research Assistant Professor, and Maxwell Museum Curator of Ethnology will be presenting her work “Keeping Our Connections to Up Home: Museum-Community Collaborations, Gendered Knowledge, and Community Building in the Hopi Pottery Oral History Project” at the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meetings in San Jose, CA. Her presentation will be part of the Invited Session entitled: “How Experimental Are You? Museum anthropology as a catalyst for shaping the discipline.” The session will take place on Saturday, November 17, 2018.

Session Abstract: Museums are uniquely situated in the intersection between the academy and the public. Their role spans from the preservation of collections to the mobilization of objects, people, and ideas through research, exhibits, and outreach. As a result, disparate perspectives emerge from the museum concept—as one in a conflict between states of stasis and flux, and between the stabilizing and mobilizing of history, things and culture. Museum are also viewed as institutions caught up in cultural wars over who owns whose culture. What is often missing from the discussion is how these particular and challenging dynamics fuel both debate and creative solutions. With growing attention to both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, museums are sites for the anthropology of language revitalization, performance studies, and community collaborations. This panel presents a series of experimental approaches—from collaborative methods to community radio programs, and from interdisciplinary teaching to art interventions. We address the motivation and intentions behind these projects, as well as patterns that indicate the trajectory of museum anthropology, and its value as an experimental catalyst for the wider discipline of anthropology. Finally, we consider barriers to change and the importance of understanding the concept of risk and how it helps anthropologists identify otherwise unquestioned and unexplored social and political contexts.

Participants include: Gwyneira L. Isaac, National Museum of Natural History; Jen Shannon, University of Colorado - Boulder; Cara Krmpotich, University of Toronto; Lea S. McChesney, University of New Mexico, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology; Mark Auslander, Michigan State University Museum; Jennifer Kramer, University of British Columbia; and Jennifer Kirker, The Pick Museum, Northern Illinois University.