We’re thrilled to be publishing this timely new series that focuses on contemporary calls to decolonize and indigenize museums, tear down monuments, and repatriate ancestors. Read our Q&A below with the series editors to find out more about the Transforming Cultural Heritage series.
Can you describe your vision for the series?
This is a series with an agenda — a response to the recent reckonings within museum and heritage spaces. We hope to build on current efforts in the field to transform the practice of heritage work and push our public institutions to be more equitable and inclusive. These are books not just for scholars, but also heritage workers, directors, and board members. Our goal is to bring cutting-edge research and practice together to create change.
We also want to reach an interdisciplinary audience, from students hungry for more actionable steps towards social justice, to professors searching for teaching materials that reflect the contemporary fervor of these issues. We’re thrilled to partner with the University of California Press to blend the boundaries between scholarly critique and public practice.
How do you define cultural heritage?
For us, cultural heritage describes both tangible and intangible constellations of community life developed over generations, including practices, landscapes, monuments, artworks, buildings, and much more. We think of critical cultural heritage as a broad category that explores the ways our diverse visions of the past shape our relationships in the present and future. Our definition of cultural heritage will continue to evolve and includes archives, memorials, libraries, museums, and public histories that we can’t imagine yet.
Discussions of heritage sometimes work to preserve static notions of the past. This series will foster discussions of how cultural heritage can also provide dynamic sites for justice, inclusion, anti-racist action, and BIPOC knowledge production. It will frame contemporary issues in cultural heritage and management, demonstrating the ways they resonate with social justice and human rights. Individual books may be rooted in specific disciplines or frame interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary accounts of transformative change.
Who is the series for?
Everyone interested in transforming cultural heritage!
Our series will be a home for progressive and radical voices. We aim to capture the urgency, passion and excitement of blog entries and YouTube talks while meeting the need for short books on new strategies in cultural heritage studies and management from scholars, students, policymakers, leaders, practitioners alike. Pitched as practice in print, each book in this series will present rigorous and nuanced arguments in accessible, praxis-focused frames. They’ll also share a similar format, design, and orientation, encouraging readers to explore beyond their discipline. Books will be short and inexpensive enough to be read for a weekly seminar or monthly reading group. Assign it to your class, your colleagues, or your board members!
What types of projects are you looking for?
We’re excited to connect with colleagues who want to write for diverse popular and academic audiences. Our ideal author is one focused on “critical praxis with tangible benefits to historically marginalized communities.” Fundamentally the series provides a platform for collective, collaborative inquiry.
We’re interested in projects from many different fields, including art history, American studies, history, anthropology and archaeology, museum studies, public history, media studies, literature, education, and library and information science. Geographically, we are particularly interested in the Americas, seeing productive similarities and differences in cultural heritage work across the Americas. Some examples of projects include how to center Indigenous knowledge in education, addressing the needs of multilingual learners in community art programs, museum activism, and countering the language of white supremacy in museums.
These shorter, practice-oriented books may include provocations and discussion questions from the author. Books will each provide an introduction to a complex issue and give readers tools for action. We anticipate manuscript workshops will form an integral part of our publishing process, connecting authors and providing an opportunity to test ideas with a range of experts.
To facilitate speedy production and an affordable price point, books in the series should be no more than 40,000 words and may include up to fifteen black and white illustrations.
What should authors do if they are interested in submitting to the series?
Series Editorial Board
A museum director since 2001, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko is the director of the Illinois State Museum, a frequent presenter at national museum meetings, and is often asked to comment on national museum issues. She has published several books, including The Inclusive Museum Leader, Museum Administration 2.0, and The Small Museum Toolkit.
Ben Garcia is Executive Director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum. He has worked for 20 years to help museums become places of welcome and belonging for all people.
Lauren Kroiz is Associate Professor in the History of Art Department and Faculty Director of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. Kroiz is the author of Cultivating Citizens: The Work of Art in the New Deal Era and Creative Composites: Modernism, Race, and the Stieglitz Circle, as well as a variety of articles and essays.
Amy Lonetree (Ho-Chunk) is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her publications include, Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums, a co-edited book with Amanda J. Cobb, The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations, and a co-authored volume, People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942.
Porchia Moore is a museum visionary and activist-scholar who employs Critical Race Theory to interrogate museums and other cultural heritage spaces. She is Director/Program Head of Museum Studies at the University of Florida and Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship, as well as Project Advisor and Co-Director of the Incluseum, co-creator of The Visitors of Color project, and advisor to numerous national museum projects including MASS (Museums as Site for Social) Action with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Museums and Race.