Call for Papers: High-tech Heritage: How are Digital Technologies changing our view of the past?

Major questions about the past have long been studied through sequential chronology, typology of form, geographical and spatial dimensions, and literary narrative. Are the lenses of the digital technologies now focused on the past magnifying, enhancing, expanding, or distorting contemporary understandings of the past? 3D visualizations, complex databases, interactive websites, social media, and Geographical Information Systems allow us to model, record, analyze, disseminate, map, and interpret information about cultural heritage. Digital technologies have led to a new means of envisioning past cultures, eras, and landscapes in a virtual, non-spatial, non-narrative immediacy. They are also introducing new methods and new perspectives that challenge traditional historiographical techniques. What implications does that have for historiographical representation in academic publications and in public interpretation? What role do the digital technologies play in complicating or simplifying the stewardship of historic resources? How do they enhance or trivialize the public interpretation of sites and monuments for the purposes of cultural tourism?

The goal of this conference is to bring together a wide range of academics, museologists, digital specialists, heritage professionals, and community leaders to examine the achievements, opportunities, and serious social challenges of digital heritage. The program will highlight ongoing projects, technological breakthroughs, educational assessments, economic evaluations, and philosophical reflections on the impact of new technologies on heritage research, on collective memory, and on the very concepts of “Place” and “Time.”

Of the major themes addressed by the Conference, the two of most direct relevance to the SSN community are:

  • Transdisciplinary Collaboration: Does digital heritage facilitate or hinder the sharing of information across and within present disciplinary boundaries such as history, archaeology, anthropology, art history, architecture, folklore studies, ethnomusicology, linguistics, and regional planning?
  • Heritage and Identity: In an age of increasing ethnic and cultural diversity, posing challenges to essentialized “national patrimony,” can digital heritage create sustainable structures for individuals and groups express their own interest and pride in traditions, monuments, landscapes, and memories of particular significance to them?

Abstracts for poster presentations, research papers (20 min.), demonstrations, workshops, roundtables, and organized sessions or symposia on the conference themes will be accepted until December 15, 2011. They should be a maximum of 300 words in English with a maximum of one illustration or screenshot.

The full Call for Papers and instructions on submitting an abstract can be found here.

2 – 4 May 2012

University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus, USA


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