Call for Papers | Objects and Possessions

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 24, 2016

From the conference website:

Objects and Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World, 1200–1800
Southampton, 3–6 April 2017

Proposals due by 12 September 2016

This interdisciplinary conference looks at material culture across a long timeframe in order to explore the worlds of goods and objects across Europe and its overseas colonies, the connections and relationships facilitated by the exchange of goods, the importance and interpretation of the inheritance of goods and objects, and the ways in which goods brokered relationships between Europe and the wider world in the period.

The aim is to deepen our understanding of how goods ‘worked’ in a variety of social, economic and cultural contexts. We know a great deal about real property and the possession of land, but comparatively little about goods and chattels and their connections, and how these developed across a long timeframe. Over the period 1200‒1800 there were great changes in the type, range and availability of goods, from the finest items of the elite, the work of craftsmen on an individual basis, to the manufacture and widespread availability of cheap and utilitarian goods and equipment.

Customs of ‘possession’ need to be exposed, to show what ownership might mean, what property might be held by women or children, and what might be considered inalienable within families. The conference will look to identify the cultural connections—and how goods and attitudes to them change culture. It will also consider how goods were transferred, exchanged and collected, as well as the ways in which objects could be used to mediate connections and broker relationships between different people and places.

Proposals are invited for single papers and for whole sessions (three papers). Papers should not exceed 30 minutes. Themes might include:
• The ownership of goods; the law and objects
• Patterns of inheritance for different categories
• The connections of different groups in society to goods, for example, domestic equipment, jewellery, textiles
• The introduction of new goods, fashions and colours
• The increasing quantities and diversity of goods
• Furnishings for household interiors
• Consumer revolutions (e.g. sugar, colour, fur)
• Vocabularies for describing goods
• Trades and markets for goods
• Processes of collecting and accumulation
• The politics of possession and display

Please send short abstracts (no more than 200 words per paper) by 12 September 2016 to Chris Woolgar (C.M.Woolgar@southampton.ac.uk).

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