Artefacts--call for papers

Robert Bud Discussion

ARTEFACTS XXVIII “Wide-Angle and Long-Range Views”

ARTEFACTS is an international network of academic and museum-based scholars of science, technology and medicine interested in promoting the use of objects in research. The network was established in 1996 and since then has held annual conferences examining the role of artefacts in the history of science and technology and related areas.

For the first time in its history, ARTEFACTS goes to Asia this year. The twenty-eighth conference will be held at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, Japan, October 8-10, 2023. The meeting will be in-person.

A gathering in Japan, where “Western” science and technology have been transferred to the unique culture of a long tradition, must provide an opportunity to reflect on the processes and consequences of globalization once again after the severest years of COVID-19. In addition, the Japanese National Museum of Nature and Science comprises both natural history and the history of science and technology, and, if combined, it will be an ideal place to reflect on human activities in much longer “history” of nature. When the authors of The History Manifesto insisted on long-term thinking (Guldi and Armitage 2014), one of the commentators contributing to Isis pointed to the absence of museums in their discussion, concluding that “we urgently need the wide-angle, long-range views only historical museums can provide” (Söderqvist 2016). In a broad interpretation, we will pursue this possibility based on museum objects and other artefacts.

We invite papers that explore topics such as, but not limited to

•    Global circulation or transnational motion of objects/collections of science and technology, especially related to East Asia

•    Role of artefacts not only in connecting, but also in disconnecting transnational circulation of knowledge

•    Role of local crafts and historical materials in communicating contemporary science and technology in a globalized world

•    Scientific, digital and other approaches to long-term history complementing text-based

historical studies

•    Intersections between history of science and technology and natural history at large, including the history of universe and the history of earth

•    Museum practices (exhibitions, in particular) and theoretical considerations of presenting wide-angle and long-range views on history for public audiences

ARTEFACTS conferences are friendly and informal meetings with the character of workshops. There is plenty of time for open discussion and networking. Each contributor will be allocated a 20 minutes slot for her or his talk, plus ample time for questions and discussion. Please send a proposal for papers (ca. 500 words) along with a brief CV to no later than June 30, 2023. Please remember that the focus of presentations should be on artefacts.

We are also pleased to announce that we have decided to offer some funding to defray the costs of participating in the meeting, mainly for early-career scholars. To apply, please send the following information to by May 21:

•    Name, institution, and short CV

•    Tentative title and short abstract (max. 100 words) of your proposal

•    Tentative itinerary, including the estimate of your anticipated airline, train, or other travel costs to Japan.

If you plan to receive other funding for your travel, please include the details.

Important dates:

• May 21, 2023

Deadline for application to the supplementary travel fund

• June 30, 2023

Deadline for abstract submission

• July 14, 2023

Notification of acceptance of paper and announcement of awardee of the supplementary travel fund

• July 21, 2023

Publication of the provisional program

• October 8-10, 2023

Conference in Tokyo


Nobumichi ARIGA

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Language and Society, Hitotsubashi University

Affiliated Researcher, Department of Science and Technology, National Museum of Nature and Science

2-1 Naka, Kunitachi, Tokyo 186-8601, JAPAN

Hiroto KONO

Curator, Department of Science and Technology, National Museum of Nature and Science

4-1-1 Amakubo, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0005, JAPAN