Call for Book Submissions: Routledge Museums in Focus short-format book series is now inviting proposals for new titles

Kylie Message's picture
Call for Publications
December 31, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Public History


Museums in Focus books are between 30,000 and 50,000 words, fully refereed, published in print and electronic formats and internationally distributed by Routledge. 


Committed to the articulation of big, even risky, ideas in small format publications, the Museums in Focus series challenges authors and readers to experiment with, innovate, and press museums, archives, collections, and other sites of public culture, as well as the intellectual frameworks through which we view these. It offers a platform for approaches that radically rethink the relationships between cultural and intellectual dissent and crisis and debates about museums, politics and the broader public sphere. 


Museums in Focus is motivated by the intellectual hypothesis that museums are not innately ‘useful’, safe’ or even ‘public’ places, and that recalibrating our thinking about them might benefit from adopting a more radical and oppositional form of logic and approach. Examining this problem requires a level of comfort with (or at least tolerance of) the idea of crisis, dissent, protest and radical thinking, and authors might benefit from considering how cultural and intellectual crisis, regeneration and anxiety have been dealt with in other disciplines and contexts.


If you’ve got something to say about the politics of GLAM, see #thedisobedientmuseum and links below for more information.


Proposals are invited from writers, scholars, museum professionals, cultural activists and others – for manuscripts that address an urgent disciplinary, methodological, or social problem involving museums, heritage, collections, or related subject. As short books (between 30,000 and 50,000 words in length) that aim to present ways of grappling with big challenges or modelling disciplinary or methodological disruption, the writing and commitment to a crisp and clear line of arguing is of the uppermost importance. 


We encourage submissions that will: 

  • Showcase discussion between established and early career scholars from different disciplinary perspectives (including non-institutionally affiliated contributors). Co-written texts are welcomed.
  • Model ways of extending or challenging the museological canon to become ever more agile, responsive, and accountable to the field’s frequently stated claims of social justice and engagement.
  • Demonstrate willingness to think critically about how ‘the museum’ and affiliate cultural products, activities and phenomena (collections, heritage, arts-based activism etc) have been constructed and represented within academic and institutional structures.


We are particularly interested in proposals for books that will extend current debates over a particular museum, object, collection, cultural activity, event, product or phenomenon, ethical conundrum, hacker process, curatorial activism, protest or campaign culture, cultural conflict, or political context, theory or history. How, for example, do these themes and others – including identity and collective rights and actions over issues including race, class, disability, gender, and sexuality; challenges to citizenship laws and norms and normative approaches to understanding power, ideology and nationalism – engage with anthropology museums, human rights museums, labour history or union museums, presidential library museums, political history collections, activist art events or interventions, protest art movement and activist interventions (historical or contemporary), ecomuseums, local and community based museums, science-based collections, formations or festivals of radical history and archiving, climate activism, etc.?


The short format book will be of interest to those seeking to write something longer than a journal article but shorter than a monograph. Well-suited to contributions that take a particular museum, collection, object, idea, theorist, activist, heritage site, or intellectual or social challenge or debate as a starting point, the series aims to encourage timely responses to political, social and cultural events, as well as debate between contributors. 


Provocation and critical analysis will be a central feature of these books, however they will also represent a commitment to rigorous theoretical and empirical research and methodological design, and opinion pieces will not be accepted. As long as the submission meets the intellectual quality requirements we encourage different formats, which might include a worked up transcription of a round-table debate; an extended interview; a shorter manifesto style piece or visual narrative accompanied by an exegesis. 


For information about the series, current titles, and submission guidelines please visit or contact the series editor at


Also visit us at


Contact Info: 

Professor Kylie Message, Australian National University

Contact Email: