Call for Papers
Bodyworks – on the use of mannequins, live humans and taxidermy animals in exhibitions
Journal of Nordic Museology (Nordisk Museologi)
The special issue Bodyworks aims to explore bodies on display and how bodies have been represented in exhibitions. Such bodies can for example take the form of mannequins, taxidermy animals or even live humans. Bodies have been used to convey both similarities and differences, in the form of live exhibitions of ethnic groups, taxidermy animals or mannequins representing a particular social class or ethnicity during the last 150 years. This special issue aims to explore how bodies have played a prominent role in exhibition-making in natural and cultural history institutions during this period. The motives and strategies for displaying bodies have changed during this period, and these changes also reflect broader changes in societal values. This again feeds into important questions about communication and the role of the museum in contemporary society.
This call for papers invites contributions from academics and museum professionals from different disciplines and institutions, who have experience from and/or reflected around the use of bodies in exhibitions.
This special issue of the Journal of Nordic Museology (Nordisk Museologi) aims to gather perspectives, and expand scholarship on, issues related to exhibited bodies, in museums and beyond, and to generate a better understanding of the role bodies play in exhibitions.
Paper contributions may explore, but are not restricted to, empirical topics/case studies as:
Taxidermy practices, the use of wax models and moulages in medical history, and the use of mannequins and live humans in archaeological and historical museums, art museums, museums of cultural history, ethnographic museums and open air museums.
Paper contributions may also explore, but are not restricted to, theoretical topics as:
Agency: what kind of object is the body? What is the agency of bodies on display? Putting live bodies on display or exhibiting mannequins has traditionally been seen as an objectifying operation, an action that turns subjects in to objects. We welcome contributions that explore nuances to this view: with bodies on display there can be different kinds of agency and different degrees of agency.
Efficacy: What do bodies on display do? What is their effect? Efficacy can be understood in several ways; among these is the power to produce a desired result or effect. Within Actor-Network Theory the term effect refers to how an object, a system or a person acts upon the network it is a part of. Within this theoretical framework, the materiality of the body is essential. The body is both a thing and a sign.
Fascination/affect: Exhibited bodies continue to fascinate audiences. The exhibited bodies in the form of mannequins and taxidermy animals are simultaneously lifeless and lifelike. Exhibited mannequins and taxidermy animals’ static nature produce an uncanny effect, as human vision is keyed to motion. Exhibited bodies simultaneously evoke life and death, and create a kind of immortality. There is also an element of recognition in seeing something that is almost like us, but not quite. Why are we still fascinated by the exhibited body? How has the nature of this fascination changed during the time such bodies have been on display?
Manuscript submission and deadlines
All papers submitted must be in English or in one of the Scandinavian languages, and must be original and unpublished material. Photographs or other images are welcome.
The special issue will include:
- Full-length, peer-reviewed academic articles of a maximum of 7,000 words, including notes, sources and references, and
- Shorter, non peer-reviewed accounts of research projects or exhibition projects of a maximum of 4,000 words.
Please do refer to the Journal of Nordic Museology Author Guidelines, Style rules and manuscript instructions, available online http://www.nordiskmuseologi,org/guidelines.html
Please send your manuscript to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 1 December 2016.