Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


18 October 2012

Asia and Europe in a Global Context. Annual Conference 2012

Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg news, 12-10-2012

More than 150 scholars from Heidelberg and around the world participated at the Annual Conference 2012. From October 10 to 12, they discussed the theme “Things that connect – pathways of materiality and practice”. The conference was organised by Research Area D in cooperation with the Collaborative Research Centre “Material Text Cultures”. The conference was opened on Wednesday evening with a keynote lecture by Neil MacGregor (London) on “Trajectories of meaning: the shifting power of things”. The Director of the British Museum approached history through the story of single objects and revealed how the world is structured through things that connect. Neil MacGregor has been  Director of the British Museum since August 2002 and has devoted particular attention to developing the Museum’s regional and international partnerships. Most recently, the British Museum and the BBC worked together on a project telling “A History of the World in 100 objects”. At the heart of this project was the British Museum/BBC Radio 4 series of a hundred 15-minute episodes, based on objects from the British Museum’s collection.

Another keynote lecture was given on Thursday evening by Ian Hodder (Stanford) with the title “From Materiality to Entanglement”. The archeologist and anthropologist argued that networks of humans and non-humans are far more than inter-connected webs. In concentrating his research on the concept of entanglement, Hodder explores how human-thing connections are interspersed with debts and duties, as well as reliance, constraints and power. In drawing on the earliest agricultural innovations, the phenomena of population increase and the domestication of plants and animals, Hodder argued that the interrelationship of humans and things can be regarded as a defining characteristic of human history and culture.

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