CfP: Documentation of contemporary society in practice

Call for papers, deadline 30 May 2017


The contemporary documentation has been in some way, even if not a deliberate one, a part of memory institutions from their origins. In the Czechoslovak context a deliberately created image of the present intended for the future generations became a program in the communist period, the main purpose being the documentation of the socialism building and thelegitimization of the regime. At that time, the contemporary documentation also became a subject of scientific research. The scholars started to occupy themselves with its specifics with respect to traditional acquisition activity, they have been concerned with both theoretical and methodological issues related to it: how to define the present (when does it start and end), what to choose from the infinite abundance, the nature of the documented, the lack of
hindsight and the like.

The transition to democracy raised the question what, how and why to document in relation to the social reality. In part, it also entailed giving up the documentation of contemporary society. The following onset of the digital era presented a similar challenge for this area of documentation. We assume that the constant rethinking of the eaning, content and methods of the contemporary documentation stems from the very nature of the present, its variability and extent; it should not result in giving up the documenting of the present, it should be, on the contrary, a parallel process to it. While there are numerous papers dealing with the theoretical discussion related to the matter, we know little about the practical side of the contemporary documentation in the Central European memory institutions. How do the memory institutions of this region approach the contemporary documentation? What is being documented and why?

The aim of this issue is to give space to the presentation of concrete examples of the documentation of contemporary society, its topics, methods and outputs of such projects. By documentation we understand musealization, in other words, the documentation via authentic documents and artefacts. In the digital era, these could be not only three-dimensional artefacts, but also audio or audiovisual recordings, archive sites and so on. As part of the contemporary documentation we also consider oral history, which we perceive as a contemporary reflection of the recent past. The call for papers is open not only to museum curators, but to everyone pursuing such a documentation of contemporary society.

The papers should refer (but not necessarily) to the documentation of contemporary society in the following areas:
- work, leisure, home, everyday life;
- subcultures, minorities, migration;
- public space, institutionalized politics – election campaigns, political parties; civil society,
non-profit sector, social movements;
- environment, countryside, urbanization, gentrification;
- chronicle writing as contemporary documentation of a defined space, social networks as a part of a virtual public space;
- contemporary art, art works, process of their creation and perception of these;
- products of mass popular culture and their social function.


In case you want to publish in the issue of the peer-reviewed journal Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae, series A – Historia email us an abstract of the paper (about 1,000 characters) on at the latest by 30 May 2017.

The final versions of the articles based on the accepted abstracts need to be submitted not later than by 15 August 2017.

Critical reviews and reports related to the theme of the issue are also welcome. Read submission guidelines for more information about the article format on the journal website: