|ICME Newsletter 52, January 2009
1. Words from the President
2. Report from the 2008 ICME Annual Meeting in Jerusalem
3. Call for archival material on ICME annual meetings
4. Up-coming conferences
5. Call for papers
6. Words from the editor
1. Words from the President
For all the many, many hours of planning and organizing that were put into the
2008 ICME annual conference in Jerusalem, it seemed that it was over in the
blink of an eye. All who attended warmly congratulated long-time and loyal ICME
member, Galia Gavish, for the efforts she and the staff and volunteers of the
Kaplan Old Yishuv Court Museum put into making the meeting such a success.
Approximately 70 colleagues from 33 countries attended. Nineteen insightful
papers were delivered. Countless museums and historic sites associated with pilgrimage were visited.
And, good food and drinks were shared along with conversations. The program of the
conference is on the ICME website. I am collecting the manuscripts to submit a
completed text for publication. More about that when it is realized.
Members of the ICME board met formally while in Jerusalem. Thanks to those
board members who were able to attend; there are always roadblocks preventing
everyone from being present. We discussed many topics. Included were the
website - you will see elsewhere in this newsletter Ralf Ceplak's request for
materials you or one of your colleagues might have that will complete the ICME
archives. We also discussed the ICME meetings for 2009 and 2010. In October
2009, we will be hosted by the National Folk Museum of Korea. Look for information about that conference in
the near future. The ICME Triennial in 2010 will be held in Shanghai, China.
If you would like to assist in shaping the theme of that conference contact Ralf
Ceplak. Ralf is also leading a working group which is revisiting ICME's long
out-of-date statutes, now called Rules by ICOM. Again, if you'd like a hand in
determining how our international committee conducts itself, please contact Ralf
and lend a hand. We hope to have these two items ready to be voted on in the 2009 meeting.
We have a few tasks ahead of us that we'd like ICME members to get involved
with. Thanks for Ralf for his leadership in these issues. I hope a few of you
have the time to work on them through the convenience of cyberspace.
With that I wish you all a healthy and enjoyable holiday season.
With warmest regards,
Annette B. Fromm
2. Report from the 2008 ICME Annual Meeting in Jerusalem
The 2008 annual meeting of the International Committee of Museums of Ethnography
(ICME) was held in mid-November in Jerusalem. Over 60 participants representing
museums and universities in 33 nations attended the conference hosted by the
Kaplan Museum in the Old City. A very busy schedule including 19 papers on the
topics of Migration, Diaspora and Pilgrimage, along with museum tours,
neighborhood walking tours and festive meals was followed.
The conference began with a pre-conference tour of pilgrimage sites in
Jerusalem, introducing the group to major sites. Starting off at Jaffa Gate,
the tour hiked quickly to the Dome of the Rock, only to wait in the long, long
line to gain entry. We were guided by Professor Amnon Cohen and the curator of
the Dome of the Rock. The museum on the site, established 1922, is comprised of
two large rooms with tall vaulted ceilings, whitewashed walls and stone floors.
It is a magnificent repository of architectural remains collected from the many restorations of mosque &
schools in area. Also in the museum are over 600 Korans dating from the 4th
century to end of Ottoman Empire.
Text labeling in the museum is provided in English, French, and Arabic.
From this magnificent Muslim shrine the group descended to the kotel or Western
Wall. After a coffee break in the Jewish quarter, they continued through the
Cardo to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This site, at mid-day, was swamped
by numerous pilgrim groups from around the world. Our next stop, after winding
through the busy Arab market of Jerusalem's old city was the Cathedral of St.
James, and the Armenian Orthodox Monastery and library, guided by the Armenian
Archbishop. The final destination of the day was compound of the Four Sephardic synagogues in the
Jewish quarter. Then the busy day ended with a festive dairy meal at the Isaac
Kaplan Old Yishuv Court Museum.
Early the next day, the conference started at the Tower of David, Museum of the
History of Jerusalem, alongside the historic Jaffa Gate. Each day of the
conference started with a museum tour and discussion with staff members. At the
Tower of David, the group welcomed by representatives of the Ministry of
Culture, Museum Division and the President of ICOM/Israel. Papers ranged from
discussions of migration of gypsies in Bulgaria and Shammar Bedouins to workers
from Romania and Slovenia who worked respectively in Canada and Egypt. Background on archives and museums
that collect materials relating to identity and memory of diaspora in Estonia
and Israel were also presented. At some times during the day speakers had to
make their presentations over the cry of muezzin calling the faithful the
prayer! In the evening, participants enjoyed a reception in Yemin Moshe hosted
by sponsor, the Jerusalem Foundation.
The second day, after a morning tour of Yad VaShem, the conference adjourned at
the L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art. Coincidentally, during the week of the
conference the recovery of a priceless watch collection stolen from this museum
was reported in the International Herald Tribune. Papers discussed the issues
of museums serving as pilgrimage sites with examples from Israel, South Africa
and Crete. After a dinner hosted by members of the Kurdish Jewish community the
group returned to their hotels via a walking tour of Rehavia and Talbieh.
The final day the meetings continued at the Museum of Italian Jewish Art. This
museum, housed in a former monastery, is noteworthy for the early 19th century
synagogue from Conegliano near Venice. Papers on the final day continued to
address the triple themes of the conference. The day ended with a tour and
dinner at the Museum of the Jewish Underground.
Several discussions arose during the conference. One of them was about
multicultural and single ethnic museums. The comments centered on
contradictions found in each type of museum and in the practical consequences of
the former because of finances.
Following well-established practice, after the close of the conference a small
group remained to take part in the post-conference tour. The group departed
from Jerusalem and traveled northward to Nazareth and the Church of the
Annunciation. En route the tour bus passed through the newly inaugurated bridge
under Mt. Tabor. As good pilgrims and museum ethnographers, some of the group
recited the shehehiyanu, the Jewish prayer expressed before partaking of new
Our first destination, the church in Nazareth is actually a relatively new
structure (consecrated in 1969) encasing the historic sites associated with
Mary. The wall enclosing the courtyard is decorated with mosaic panels visually
representing Mary holding the baby Jesus. Each panel was donated by Catholic
communities around the world and executed in the style of the donor country. I
took a little break from the group and strolled through a very busy market
place. I was able to see the Church of the Synagogue, a very plain site Jesus in which is said to have preached.
From Nazareth we drove northward to Kibbutz Yifat. At this location, we ate a
pioneer kibbutz lunch - eggs, cheeses, vegetable and olives, bread and fruit.
This Spartan meal prepared us to view the Pioneer Museum to understand the life
of the early collective settlers of pre-state Israel.
Continuing northward, our next stop was the Museum German-Speaking Jews at
Tefen. This museum is located in an Industrial Park near the Israel-Lebanon
border at which there are not only businesses, but also schools, housing and
museums. The day ended at Kfar Giladi in the one of the oldest and largest
hotels run by a kibbutz. The view up the mountains and down the valleys was
The next morning the group reconvened after a generous modern kibbutz breakfast
at neighboring Tel Hai. This early kibbutz and historic site has been
transformed into a museum and was recently redesigned. The exhibits make
extensive use of video projections with accompanying audio texts to relate the
story of pioneer life and the significant battle in 1920 at this outpost.
Another discussion with our hosts was sparked about interactions between Israeli
and neighboring Palestinians and if and how their stories are shared.
From Tel Hai we descended to the Sea of Galilee and a stop at the Museum Yigal
Allon at Ginosar to see the so-called 2000 year old "Jesus" boat. This is said
to be the oldest boat found in freshwater. The high tech display draws many
thousands of pilgrims to see a fragile artifact from the time of Jesus. Outside
the museum, numerous sculptures dotted the landscape.
Our next stop was Nebi Shu'eib, a Druze shrine to Jethro, the father-in-law of
Moses. This impressive structure, built into the side of a limestone cliff
preserves the site of Jethro's tomb. The site was identified in the time of
Salahaddin and the tomb built 250 years ago. April 25, the date of the
principal pilgrimage to this holy site, draws thousands of pilgrims.
Our final stop before returning to Jerusalem was the Yardenit. Here, along the
Jordan River Christian pilgrims are drawn the see where Jesus was baptized by
John the Baptist. In addition, many pilgrims submit to the River for the
sacrament of baptism. None of our group was so moved by their faith, we were
A complete list of the papers presented at this year's conference is available
on the ICME website. The 2009 ICME Annual Meeting
will convene in Seoul, Korea in October, sponsored by the National Folk Museum
of Korea. Please check our web-site for notices submit papers or attend.
Annette B. Fromm
Frost Art Museum
Florida International University
3. Call for archival material from ICME annual meetings
There is incomplete record of annual meeting programs, proceedings and
Newsletters on the ICME website.
In 1951 there was a Meeting of the ICOM Commission on Racial Questions, which
was a subcommittee of ICME in Paris, France. But only from 1991 onwards the
programmes of the annual meetings are online on our ICME web page.
In our effort to complete the incomplete I am asking our ICME members:If anyone
has the 1951 - 1991 programmes, proceedings and Newsletters (up to the No. 30,
year 2000), please scan them and send them to Matthias Beitl (Webmaster)
mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org and he will put them on the ICME website.
Ralf Ceplak Mencin
In addition I would like to mention that we also lack photos from the two most
recent annual meetings - in Vienna and in Jerusalem. Therefore, if any of you
have photos from any of those two occasions, please send them to Matthias Beitl
(see address above).
4. Up-coming conferences and seminars
January 8-10, "Heritage in Asia: Converging Forces and Conflicting Values",
February 12, "Contact and context: working with source communities", London
Transport Museum, London, United Kingdom,
February 27, "Only Human: Social History and Ethnography", Leeds City Museum,
Leeds, United Kingdom,
March 5-7, "Imagined Horizons: Spatial Configurations of the Present", Delhi,
March 17-21, "Global Challenge, Local Action: Ethical Engagement, Partnerships
and Practice" 69th Annual Meeting of The Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa
Fe, NM, USA, http://www.sfaa.net/sfaa2009.html
March 27-28, "Creativity and Innovation", 16th ICC Annual Conference, Florence,
April 4-7, "Traditions and Transformations: Tourism, Heritage and Cultural
Change in the Middle East and North Africa Region", Amman, The Hashemite Kingdom
April 16-18, "Instruction, Amusement and Spectacle: Popular Shows and
Exhibitions 1800-1914", Exeter, United Kingdom,
April 30 - May 4, "The Museum Experiment", AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™2009,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, http://www.aam-us.org/am09/
May 6-8, "Re-Imagining Identities: New directions in post-colonial studies",
May 6-9, "Facing the Past/ Facing the Future: History, Memory, Literature",
Bahcesehir University, Istanbul Turkey, http://www.bahcesehir.edu.tr
May 30-June 1, "Sharing Cultures 2009", Ilha do Pico, Azores, Portugal,
May 7-9, "Living Islam in Europe : Muslim Traditions in European Contexts",
Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin, Germany, for further information see
5. Call for papers
April 2-3, "Amateur Passions / Professional Practice: ethnography collectors and
collections", 2009 MEG Conference, Bristol, United Kingdom,
April 6-9, "Anthropological and archaeological imaginations: past, present and
future", ASA 2009, Bristol, United Kingdom, http://www.theasa.org/conferences.htm
April 24-25, "VIVA AFRICA 2009", 4th International Conference on African
Studies, University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, for further information see
May 13-15, Third Anthropological Film Festival at University of British
Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, http://anthfilm.anth.ubc.ca/events.html
July 9-11, "Visuality/Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice",
London, United Kingdom, http://www.geography.dur.ac.uk/conf/visualitymateriality/Home/tabid/2944/Defaul\
July 27-31, "Humanity, Development and Cultural Diversity", XVI ICAES, 2008,
Kunming, China, http://www.icaes2008.org/
August 18-22, "Rethinking the material, the visual and the narrative in
culture", The 31st Nordic Ethnology and Folklore Conference, Helsinki, Finland,
September 1-4, "Objects - What Matters? Technology, Value and Social Change",
CRESC Annual Conference, University of Manchester, http://www.cresc.ac.uk/events/conference2009/callforpapers.html
September 21-24, Vth International Congress of Ethnobotany (ICEB), San Carlos de
Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina, mailto: email@example.com
November 6-7, "Representing the People", Reims, France,
April 8 - 10, 2010, "Continuities, Dislocations and Transformations: Reflections
on 50 Years of African Independence", Biennial conference of the German
Association for African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany,
for further information see http://www.easaonline.org/calendar.htm
6. Words from the editor
First of all a Happy New Year to all of you out there!
Actually, this newsletter was posted just before New Year as I found some
interesting conferences and calls for papers that needed immediate action from
potential attendants. But apparently the mail never came through. I apologize if
any of you have already received one version of this newsletter.
Most of the contributions to this newsletter are obviously related to the
successful annual meeting in Jerusalem. It was a pleasant surprise to hear of
the large number of attendants for this years meeting - hopefully we can keep
the pace next year in South Korea.
As mentioned by Annette in the 'Words from the President' she will try to bring
the papers presented in Jerusalem together in a volume. I would like to mention
that we also still welcome papers presented in Vienna 2007 for publishing at the
ICME website.I would like to thank everybody who have contributed to the ICME
Newsletter in 2008. We try to keep pace with what is happening in the field of
ethnographic museums while not overloading with information we would all be able
to access elsewhere.
Therefore I will encourage all of you to contribute with your ideas and
reflections for the newsletter in 2009 as well.
The deadline for the next issue is April 24 2009. Please send news and
contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor, ICME News
Dept. of Anthropology and Ethnography
University of Aarhus
Phone: +45 89424642To top
Fax: +45 89424655