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Graduate Student Conference
Graduate Student Conference
Graduate Student Conference

Graduate Student Conferences 2009

Thursday 26th March: 'Ruination' colloquium.

Organized by graduate students from the Department of Anthropology and sponsored by the Center for Archaeology. Details to be announced


Saturday 23rd May 2009: Collecting and Gathering: Making Worlds and Staking Claims: A one-day interdisciplinary conference and exhibit at the Center for Archaeology. 

Practices, institutions and ideas centered around collections and collecting offer a fruitful area for interdisciplinary inquiry in the humanities and social sciences. Whether in the processes through which collections come to be formed, or the ways in which existing collections are experienced by a variety of publics, the impulse to collect is often key to knowing a wider world, and also knowing oneself. This conference aims to bring a wide variety of critical perspectives to bear on this topic; including anthropological, historical and art historical, literary, architectural and museological. Papers dealing with actual formal collections such as those found in galleries or museums, as well as those interested in less tangible collections - such as collections of facts, observations or ideas - are equally welcome. There are no restrictions with regard to time period, and papers are sought relating to the contemporary world, as well as the recent and ancient pasts.

Papers are solicited on the following and related themes:

  • The temporality of gathering – how the past and future are grasped and mediated through material substances and practices
  • Collecting and power - how collecting sets up or maintains power differentials between collector and collected, exhibitor and exhibited. 
  • Fixing and making worlds - the bonding of materials, substances, place and people
  • Histories of collecting – changing modalities and definitions of the collection and of what it is to gather materials, ideas or people in place and time
  • Collecting as a transformative process - how collecting alters, re-presents or invents the object that is collected and the implications of such transformations
  • Spaces of collection and collections of spaces - the politics, poetics and meaning of the exhibition space and its architectural framing

 This conference is run by graduate students affiliated with the Center for Archaeology and is organized in conjunction with an exhibit on collecting designed by students in the Museum Masters program at Columbia.

For further details, please contact Matt Sanger at

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