Focus and Scope
Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle (MCR/RCM) is Canada's only scholarly journal dedicated to the study of material culture. It documents cultural artifacts, describing their historical contexts and roles in society. MCR/RCM provides a venue for refereed articles and research reports encompassing a range of approaches to interpreting culture and history through an analysis of people's relationships to their material world. Critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and historic sites, artifact studies and reports on collections encourage the use of material evidence in understanding historical change and continuity. Material culture––objects or things––is the common thread that connects the submissions in each issue of Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle.
The journal is published twice annually (spring and fall) and invites submissions of new research on material culture and its related topics from the fields of cultural history, public history, art history, cultural geography, folklore and/or ethnology, archaeology, anthropology, architecture, and museum, conservation and heritage studies. The editors encourage submissions from scholars at any phase of their career, curators and professionals from the museum and heritage world, and from independent scholars with an interest in material culture. Papers may be submitted in English or French languages.
Works submitted will be categorized as:
• articles (roughly speaking, 20-30 double-spaced pages, including endnotes)
• research reports (10-20 pages, including endnotes)
• exhibit reviews (1000-1500 words, including endnotes)
• research notes (5-10 pages)
• book reviews (notes and comments less than 5 pages)
Both articles and research reports are peer-reviewed.
Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle has an over forty-year history of disseminating Canadian and International research in the interdisciplinary field of material culture studies. Since December 2020, the journal has been housed in the Visual and Material Culture Studies programme at Mount Allison University, under the editorship of Dr Patricia Kelly Spurles.
Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle began through the efforts of Canadian museum professionals following a national material culture conference held in Ottawa in November of 1975. This was a period when many scholars who were questioning old methods and orientations began to give greater importance to the power of everyday objects in democratizing history and revealing the lives and stories of ordinary people.
First published in 1976 as Material History Bulletin by the National Museum of Man (later called the Canadian Museum of Civilization and now called the Canadian Museum of History), by the mid-1980s the journal was co-published with the National Museum of Science and Technology (NMST), now known as the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology. By 1990 the NMST assumed sole responsibility for the Material History Bulletin. This transition marked an important juncture in the life of the journal as several changes were made to its editorial structure. First, the name of the journal was changed to Material History Review/Revue d’histoire matérielle, since “bulletin” gave the impression of a newsletter rather than a journal that published primarily peer-reviewed original research. Second, the content of the journal expanded to include more fields relating to the study of material objects, such as art history, architectural history, ethnology, and historical and cultural geography. Lastly, the editorial board of the journal changed to include more representation from the university community. In 1997, North American material culture specialist Dr. Gerald L. Pocius became the first editor affiliated with a university rather than a museum. In 2006, Cape Breton University Press began producing the journal, and the name was changed to Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle in order to better reflect the journal’s increased focus on contemporary and ethnographic, as well as historical, studies of the material world. Dr Richard MacKinnon, a Tier One Canada Research Chair in Intangible Cultural Heritage at Cape Breton University, served as Editor-in-Chief between 2009 and 2020.
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