Inuit Memories and Archaeological Reconstructions: Contemporary Reifications of the Inuit Past
110th American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting
16-20 November 2011
Organizers of a session entitled "Inuit Memories and Archaeological Reconstructions: Contemporary Refications of the Inuit Past" announce a call for abstracts. The session will be convened at the American Anthropological Association's 110th Annual Meeting, scheduled for 16-20 November 2011 in Montreal, Canada.
The theme of this year's annual meeting focuses on traces, tidemarks, and legacies. These ideas are particularly applicable to the Arctic where both anthropology and archaeology are being used to address contemporary issues, for example related to Inuit social and political self determination, and prehistory which reconstructs and traces Inuit occupation back to their original tenure of northern Canada. Inuit oral tradition, ethnohistorical accounts, and archaeological research have demonstrated a strong degree of biological and cultural continuity between contemporary Inuit and their Thule predecessors, who first entered Arctic Canada around AD 1200. Social scientists working in the Arctic have drawn upon this continuity to improve their knowledge of Inuit prehistory. Furthermore, Inuit today are actively engaging with and consolidating their knowledge and understanding of their past by documenting and disseminating personal memories and shared traditional knowledge. This rich history is often invoked by Inuit to define and reinforce their own identities, improve socioeconomic well-being in arctic communities, and establish political autonomy.
In a variety of ways, Inuit, anthropologists, and archaeologists participate in the reconstruction and reification of the arctic past; artifacts are not merely 'things', but value-laden components of a way of life that still has meaning and value for Inuit today. This reconstructed cultural heritage becomes part of the collective Inuit cultural identity, which to some degree is shared among all North American arctic peoples. It is not so much about prehistory as it is about current lives, ideologies, and practices. It is built, remembered, and recreated in the present, according to current politics, methodologies, socio-economic and cultural needs, and it is oriented toward future goals. For Inuit, as well as for arctic scholars, the past and the present are intertwined through philosophies, practices, material vestiges, and narratives. It is a contemporary past.
The purpose of this session is to explore the relationships between Inuit past, present, and future, as well as their material and oral components. How is the Inuit past commonly defined among both Inuit and archaeological/anthropological communities? What are the traces and legacies left by the Inuit past? How can we make sense of them? Whether they are concrete or abstract, excavated, remembered, collected, narrated, written, acted, re-created or invented, they are essentially products of the present, projected on a future. They transcend time. These reconstructions and reminiscences of the Inuit past also transcend places: they occur in archaeological sites, Inuit communities, government offices, northern and southern museums, and universities. Ultimately, session organizers hope to shed light on the connections between these academic reconstructions, individual and collective memories of Inuit, their value, and their role in the contemporary world.
Organizers request that anyone interested in participating in the session please contact Marie-Pierre Gadoua (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday, 8 April 2011. After receiving the email, organizers will send an invitation through the AAA registration site. Abstracts are limited to 250 words. This date is prior to the actual abstract deadline, in order to allow sufficient time for the registration process to be completed.
Abstract deadline: Friday, 15 April 2011.
For further information on the conference, please go to: http://www.aaanet.org/meetings/index.cfm.
For further information on this session, please contact:
Northern Research Network
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