Stanford University
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TAG 2020 at Stanford University

May 1-3, 2020

TAG 2020 Stanford aims to facilitate archaeological conversation across a range of topics, formats, and media. The conference will include a variety of events: a full-day plenary debate on the “Potentials and Limits of Big Data” in archaeology; two days of thematically open, concurrent breakout sessions; and a range of art exhibitions to stimulate conversations about the intersections of ethics, politics, and archaeological practice. In the spirit of the Stanford Archaeology Center, a space that fosters collaboration and discussion among archaeologists in different disciplines, we welcome sessions and papers on all current archaeological topics. 

Potentials and Limits of Big Data

In the spirit of the Theoretical Archaeology Group’s (TAG) founding objectives to facilitate discussion and debate over the development and application of archaeological theory, TAG 2020 Stanford will begin with a full-day plenary session designed to question the “Potentials and Limits of Big Data”. Eight speakers have agreed to debate the topic, and considerable time will also be allocated for open discussion among all conference participants. The aim is to engender conversation about the politics of scale and the implications of data commensurability and universalizing ontologies. In a world in which large amounts of gray literature have become available in digital form, and in which large-scale and long-term excavations have produced a wealth of quantitative data, and in which there are pressures to explore Big History and Grand Narrative, what are the impacts on local voices and alternative pasts? This session will also include commentary by an anthropologist of the ethics of big data, proxies and algorithms in the contemporary world.

Open Call for Sessions and Papers

Two days of the conference will be dedicated to concurrent breakout sessions that will be organized by conference participants. We welcome session proposals and papers that engage with any dimension of archaeological theory and practice. Sessions may critically engage with the plenary theme or invite discussion on other epistemological, political, and ethical aspects of archaeological practice and data analysis. We encourage participants to consider a broad range of topics and formats—ranging from a series of 20-minute papers, lightning talks, and roundtable discussions. Scholars wishing to submit individual papers that are not attached to formally proposed sessions are also encouraged to do so. All sessions should be planned to be either two hours or three hours in length. Because discussion is an essential part of TAG, two hour sessions should not include more than five 20-minute papers and three hour sessions should not include more than six 20-minute papers.  

Session proposals should be made by January 15, 2020 using the submission page. The deadline for individual paper contributions to an accepted session or a general session will be March 15, 2020.


If you have questions, please email