Call for Papers | Material Culture Symposium: Consuming Objects

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 28, 2013

From The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware:

Consuming Objects: Negotiating Relationships with the Material World
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, 12 April 2014

Proposals due by 2 December 2013

The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware invites submissions for papers to be given at the Twelfth Annual Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars.

“Consuming” is a multivalent word, fraught with provocative denotations and connotations. Whether we buy them, sell them, use them, or eat them, we all consume objects through a variety of channels. We seek papers that highlight the intersection between people and their things within this broad framework of consumption. This conference will consider how material culture can act as an extension of ourselves, provide repositories for memory, help stabilize identity, interrupt our sense of scale and space, give permanence to relationships, function as a semiotic marker, and enable human activities. Papers may also address how objects mediate human sensory experience and create aesthetic meaning. We encourage papers that reflect upon and promote an interdisciplinary discussion on the state of material culture studies today.

This conference is not bound by any temporal or geographical limits. Disciplines represented at past symposia include American studies, anthropology, archaeology, consumer studies, English, gender studies, history, museum studies, and the histories of art, architecture, design, and technology. We welcome proposals from graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and those beginning their teaching or professional careers.

The symposium will consist of nine presentations divided into three panels. Each presentation is limited to eighteen minutes, and each panel is followed by comments from established scholars in the field. There will be two morning sessions and one afternoon session, with breaks for discussion following each session and during lunch. Participants will also have the opportunity to tour Winterthur’s unparalleled collection of early American decorative arts and to engage in a roundtable discussion on Friday, April 11, 2014. Travel grants will be available for presenters.

Proposals should be no more than 300 words. Please indicate the focus of your object¬based research, the critical approach that you take toward that research, and the significance of your research beyond the academy. We encourage the inclusion of relevant images with your abstracts.

While the audience for the symposium consists mainly of university faculty and graduate students, we encourage broader participation. In evaluating proposals, we will give preference to those papers that keep a more diverse audience in mind. Programs and paper abstracts from past symposia are posted here.

Send your proposal, with a current c.v. of no more than two pages, to emerging.scholars@gmail.com. Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, December 2, 2013. Speakers will be notified of the vetting committee’s decision in January 2014. Confirmed speakers will be asked to provide symposium organizers with digital images for use in publicity and are required to submit a final draft of their papers by March 11, 2014.

2014 Emerging Scholars Co¬Chairs
Anastasia Day (Hagley Program in the History of Industrialization) and Philippe Halbert (Winterthur Program in American Material Culture), University of Delaware

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