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Call for Papers for a SFAA 2019 session on “Fake News, Flat Planets and Phantom Ancestors: The Turbulent Interface Between Applied Anthropology, Public Discourse, and Cultural Institutions”

This session will explore the methodological, theoretical, epistemological, and ontological changes that are insidiously sweeping through cultural institutions, (e.g. science museums, libraries, art galleries, botanical societies, and zoological centers). Created to engage in the conservation, interpretation and dissemination of cultural, scientific, and environmental knowledge, and missioned to inform and educate citizens on issues related to culture, history, science and the environment, cultural institutions are being pushed and challenged in historically unprecedented ways. Embedded in a political landscape that is increasingly being called into question by the public, fuelled by an era of “fake news” and propelled by a new generation of scholars armed with a corpus of mash-up methodologies, public discourse and the cultural institutions charged to propagate its sanctioned messages are at a turbulent crossroad, moving from an era of Enlightenment to one of democratisation. Cultural institutions are essentially being challenged to move away from the production of knowledge to reform behaviour toward becoming places for facilitating complex reflexivities and creative dispositions. The opportunities, challenges and implications this movement poses for applied anthropologist working in cultural organizations will be summarily addressed.

Seeking papers that discuss/address the following research, broadly, but not limited to:
• Museology/study within cultural institutions
• Media and public discourse
• Knowledge production and dissemination
• Climate & environment
• Policy & advocacy

If interested, please contact Rose Jones, Director of Evaluation at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Email:rose.jones@perotmusuem.org

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