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Call for Papers | Materializing Race: #VastEarlyAmerica

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 8, 2020

From the Materializing Race website:

Materializing Race: An Unconference on Objects and Identity in #VastEarlyAmerica
24–25 August 2020 (Zoom)

Organized by Cynthia Chin and Philippe Halbert

Proposals due by 1 August 2020

In a commitment to fostering nuanced interpretations of early American objects and meaningful dialogue on historical constructions of race and their legacies, we propose a virtual ‘unconference’ to share and discuss scholarship on the intersections of identity and material culture in #VastEarlyAmerica. This participant-driven, lightning round-style event will be held via Zoom, with two approximately two-hour afternoon sessions conducted in English. Energized by Dr. Karin Wulf’s call for broader, more inclusive histories of early America, we seek to promote a diverse cross-section of scholarship focused on North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean before 1830.

Macro Themes
• What were some of the threads or outcomes of the 1619 Project dialogue (and other relevant publications/discussions) that relate/interact/tessellate with material culture studies?
• Should the 1619 Project and its surrounding narratives affect material culture studies?
• Can the outcomes or discussions surrounding this dialogue engender new approaches/methodologies and discussions in material culture studies? How might it affect the way we as historians and curators interact with and publicly present objects? Does it present the ability to see “legacy” objects and historical figures/narratives differently as a result?
• How do we as historians approach or come to terms with our own family or ancestral narratives within the scope of the 1619 Project?
• What’s the next chapter in the discussion of race and early American material culture?

Micro Themes
• Historians and material culture specialists as genealogists: how do our own personal family/ancestral narratives intersect with our study of early American history and material culture; the historian as biographer; the biographical object and the object biography
• Public history: new thoughts on old things, from the exhibition and display of objects in museum settings to historical and character interpretation
• New methodological approaches and revisions/additions to existing material culture frameworks. How can #VastEarlyAmerica work to expand the traditional American material culture canon?
• Object Case Studies: New interpretations of early American objects related to identity and race
• Jamestown and Plymouth/the Mayflower: new potential interpretations, Plymouth’s 400th anniversary
• Others?

This event is co-convened by Dr. Cynthia Chin (Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington) and Philippe Halbert (Yale History of Art).

For more information and submission details, please visit the Materializing Race website.