Research group Humans and materiality
Call for papers

Human Agency and Global Challenges: Re-Centering Social Change in Archaeology

24 - 26 February 2022: We welcome paper proposals for a three-day conference in Bergen, Norway.

Bygninger foran vann, fjell
We invite our international colleagues to meet in Bergen, Norway!

Main content

How does change happen? What role do human relationships and decisions play? Are societal changes only generated by external and uncontrollable large-scale events that predict certain types of inevitable trajectories, or do they on the contrary result from small-scale decisions and interactions between multiple and different human and non-human actors?

This conference offers a platform for scholars of all theoretical persuasions to discuss these questions together.

The conference dates are 24 - 26 February 2022.

Confirmed key note speakers:

  • Dr. Mads Dengsø Jessen, The National Museum of Denmark.
  • Prof. Mike Parker Pearson, University College London, UK.
  • Prof. Neil Price, University of Uppsala, Sweden .
  • Prof. Leonardo Garcia Sanjuan, University of Seville, Spain.
  • Prof. Liv Nilsson Stutz, Linnaeus University, Sweden.
  • Ass. Prof. Kristina Sessa, Ohio State University, USA.

We welcome proposals for papers of 15-20 minutes in length engaged with the session themes addressing different modalities of change. Proposals should not exceed 200-300 words, and should contain name, institutional affiliation (if any) and email adress. Please indicate clearly which session you would like to speak in.

Proposals are to be sent to: infoarchaeologyconference@uib.no by no later than 18th October 2021.

The conference will have four thematic sessions:

Rapid change

Rapid change, in the form of climatic events, migrations and demographic collapse is making a come-back in our explanations. But is rapid change always catastrophic? How good are our methods at identifying timing and speed of changes and their correlation with other factors? How do individuals and societies deal with or bring about quick transformation?

Resilience and adaptation

Much change also happens slowly, sometimes in spite of considerable social or environmental challenges. What strategies can societies develop to counter change? Under which circumstances are balanced relations (between people and with the environment) achieved? Can we characterise how societies adapt to new and potentially challenging landscapes?

Trajectories to/from inequality

How close are we to defining the factors that contribute to (un)equal social relations? What is the role of worldviews, social and ritual traditions and technological innovations in altering power balances? Is a decrease in hierarchical relations always a “collapse” and is it possible to write narratives of resistance?

Scales of transformation

Archaeological research has always focused on different scales of social action, yet it is rare that multiple scales are brought together. How do the same processes differ when we look at them from a micro or macro perspective? What can big data models gain from site or regional narratives (and vice versa)? And how can complex multi-scalar models best be modelled and presented?

This conference is arranged by the research group Humans and materiality at UiB and generously sponsored by the Meltzer Research Fund and takes place in collaboration with Bymuseet i Bergen.