Call for Papers – TAG 2017 Cardiff – “Unstuck in Time – science fiction, speculative futures, and archaeological imaginings”

Science fiction and archaeology are a classic combination in popular culture – long before Indiana Jones’ Nazi foes unleashed the forces within the Ark of the Covenant there were dire consequences for investigating the Mountains of Madness, perils of unleashing demonic forces at the Devil’s Hump, and cautions on the limitations of anthro-centric interpretations in the classic novel Rogue Moon.
Archaeology and science fiction make such comfortable bedfellows because of their common interest on constructing interpretations of human worlds – past, present, future, sideways – that are consciously and unconsciously mirrors of the present cultural and social mores, mired in the existing political and sociological constructs governing society. Both are mirrors for society’s ills and achievements, its hopes and dreams. Archaeologists construct pasts of human achievement, drive, ingenuity, warfare, cataclysm and change; writers and artists create science fiction worlds out the same building blocks.

Both the writer and the archaeologist, then, are unstuck in time. They take cues from the past, present, and speculative future to create something that belongs in none of those places and all of them at once – something that invokes a sense of belonging in the intended audience. They both weave models of the human condition, create snapshots of a human way of life that never did or will never exist, but that can be recognised, empathised and related to by the audience.
This session is open to any interpretation on the theme of archaeology and science fiction. What is the future of the past? Whether that’s looking at depictions of archaeologists in popular culture, or how interpretations of the past are inspired by the way we hope the future will unfold, or how speculative advances in machine learning and automation move towards a science-fiction future where humans no longer need to act as archaeologists, we welcome creative approaches.

Submission of abstracts should be made using the form available on the TAG 2017 website http://tag2017cardiff.org/submissions/ and emailed to the organisers via pforeman@bournemouth.ac.uk before August 25th.

Organisers: Penelope Foreman (Bournemouth University), Florence Smith Nicholls (Compass Archaeology)