CFP: Media Archaeologies Forum: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

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Media Archaeologies Forum: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

The recent emergence of ‘media archaeologies’ is an exciting theoretical and methodological shift within media studies. In 2010, in The Routledge Companion to Film History (ed. William Guynn), Erkki Huhtamo defined ‘media archaeology’ as ‘a particular way of studying media as a historically attuned enterprise’ that involves researchers ‘”excavating” forgotten media-cultural phenomena that have been left outside the canonized narratives about media culture and history’ (203). In the same year, Jussi Parikka added that ‘media archaeology needs to insist both on the material nature of its enterprise – that media are always articulated in material, also in non-narrative frameworks whether technical media such as phonographs, or algorithmic such as databases and software networks – and that the work of assembling temporal mediations takes place in an increasingly varied and distributed network of institutions, practices and technological platforms’ (http://mediacartographies.blogspot.ca/2010/10/what-is-media-archaeology-beta.html). German media theorist and trained archaeologist, Wolfgang Ernst, describes media archaeology’s focus on the ‘nondiscursive infrastructure and (hidden) programs of media’ (2013, Digital Memory and the Archive, p. 59). If media archaeologists such as Thomas Elsaesser, Wolfgang Ernst, Lisa Gitelman, Erkki Huhtamo, Jussi Parikka, Cornelia Vismann and Siegfried Zielinski are interested in scalar change, material-discursive assemblages and deep time relations as they pertain to media technologies and networks, how might archaeologists with interests in the media actively contribute to the shaping of this field?

Alongside archaeology’s discursive travels across the humanities, most notoriously via Michel Foucault, archaeologists have long engaged with media. From Silicon Valley to Atari dumps, from the mobile phone to the media technologies of post-war astronomy and from telegraphy to the material-discursive actions of media as sensory prostheses, the global archaeological community has produced a large number of important studies of media techno-assemblages that both map specifically archaeological approaches and push at the limits of archaeology as a discipline. What are the archaeological specificities that mark out a distinct disciplinary approach to understanding media? How might the practices of media archaeologists such as Huhtamo, Parikka, et al challenge assumptions that archaeologists located within the discipline might have about their methodological and conceptual specificities? In short, where are the boundaries between media archaeologies and archaeologies of media? How are those boundaries drawn, performed and maintained? And how might we work together to ask new questions of media technologies and their relations?

This forum invites contributors to submit responses to the provocations contained in the first paragraph. The forum invites contributors to draw out key archaeological theories and practices to contribute to the rich field of media ecologies, archaeologies and ‘variatologies’ in order to explore the implications of distinct yet diverse archaeological approaches to media assemblages. Commentaries are welcomed in the form of short texts (1,000 – 3,000 words) or in any other genre suitable for print, including drawings and images. We welcome especially original thoughts and specific examples from around the world.

Commentaries will be selected in terms of originality, diversity and depth and will be published in a forthcoming Forum in Journal of Contemporary Archaeology (http://www.equinoxpub.com/journals/index.php/JCA). Deadline for submissions is 3 February 2015.

For submissions and questions, please contact Angela Piccini, a.a.piccini@bristol.ac.uk.

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