Tag Archives | material culture

CFP: Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, 9-11 July 2015 Cambridge

Abstracts due 7 January 2015 for the interdisciplinary conference, Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800 to be held 9-11 July 2015 at the University of Cambridge.

Across faiths and regions and throughout the world, the home was a centre for devotion in the early modern period. Holy books, prayer mats, candlesticks, inscriptions, icons, altars, figurines of saints and deities, paintings, prints and textiles all wove religion into the very fabric of the home. While research into religious practice during this period often focuses on institutions and public ceremonies, it is clear that the home played a profound role in shaping devotional experience, as a place for religious instruction, private prayer and contemplation, communal worship, and the performance of everyday rituals.

The ERC-funded research project Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home will be hosting this three-day international interdisciplinary conference in July 2015.…

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Material Culture Caucus at the ASA Annual Meeting, 6-9 Nov. Los Angeles

The Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association (ASA) announces the following session at the Association’s Annual Meeting, “The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century,” 6-9 November  2014, Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles, CA USA Material Culture Caucus Session: Twenty Years, Twenty Questions to Ask an Object Fri. 7 Nov. 2014,  2:00 to 3:45pm PST Since its formation in 1994, the Material Culture Caucus has bridged the gap between university-based and museum-based scholars to promote the study of material culture in American Studies programs. Join a panel of scholar-teachers in a very interactive session playing twenty questions. Questions will be provided; evocative (and questionable) objects will be at hand but participants are encouraged to bring their own as well.…
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Mundane Objects: Materiality and non-Verbal Communication by Pierre Lemonnier

Haidy Geismar, UCL

The latest issue of Hau has a symposium on Pierre Lemmonier’s latest book, Mundane Objects, with commentary by Bruno Latour, Chris Ballard, Tim Ingold, Paul Graves-Brown, Susanne Küchler and a response by Pierre Lemmonier. The series of comments essentially sum up a “state of the art” comment on material culture theory, which Tim Ingold pithily sums up to date:

Perhaps there is something to be said for going back to the anthropological debates of the 1960s and 1970s on such themes as symbolic condensation, the distinction (or lack of it) between ritual and practical-technical actions, and how to do things with and without words. Arguably, our understandings have not been much advanced by subsequent approaches to material culture, for example by treating it as a system of signs whose meanings could be read off from the objects themselves, by entering them as candidates for social life but only as tokens of exchange among human beings, or by focusing on their consumption at the expense of their production.Nor—and here I agree wholeheartedly with Lemonnier—is there anything to be gained from leaving the heavy lifting to such philosophical juggernauts as “agency” and “materiality.” Most agency-speak is as tautologous as the functionalism it replaced: where before, if the presence of a thing has effects (and it would not be present if it did not), these effects were attributed to its functioning, nowadays they are attributed to its agency.

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CFP: Missionaries, Materials and the Making of the Modern World

15-17 September 2014 Emmanuel College Cambridge United Kingdom

While some scholars have understood the activity of overseas Christian missionaries primarily in terms of a ‘Colonization of Consciousness’ (Comaroff & Comaroff 1992), a range of recent scholarship has also emphasised the profoundly material dimensions of much missionary activity. While religious conversion was never unimportant historically, many missionaries have been equally heavily involved in practical projects to remake the world. Their global projects have transformed landscapes, forms of architecture and modes of dress, but have also shaped underlying narratives of modernity and modernisation (Keane 2007).

This flagship international conference will bring scholars from different disciplines together with heritage professionals to explore the global networks of exchange established by Christian missionary organisations, the materials that circulated through these, and the transformational effects these exchanges had in many different parts of the world, including Europe itself.  Abstracts of up to 200 words emailed to: ga343@cam.ac.uk Deadline is 29 April Download the full PDF: CfP- Missions, Materials & Modern World Dr Chris Wingfield Senior Curator (Archaeology) MAA, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DZ Tel: + 44 (0)1223 333515 Email: cw543@cam.ac.uk Web: maa.cam.ac.uk Keep up to date with MAA on facebook: www.facebook.com/MAACambridge…
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Agbogbloshie: the world’s largest e-waste dump – in pictures | Environment | theguardian.com

 

Adam Nasara, 25, uses Styropor, an insulating material from refrigerators, to light a fire

Adam Nasara, 25, uses Styropor, an insulating material from refrigerators, to light a fire

Agbogbloshie: the world’s largest e-waste dump – in pictures | Environment | theguardian.com.

 

Discarders of electronic goods expect them to be recycled properly. But almost all such devices contain toxic chemicals which, even if they are recyclable, make it expensive to do so. As a result, illegal dumping has become a lucrative business.

Photographer Kevin McElvaney documents Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in Accra, Ghana, which is home to the world’s largest e-waste dumping site. Boys and young men smash devices to get to the metals, especially copper. Injuries, such as burns, untreated wounds, eye damage, lung and back problems, go hand in hand with chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems.

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CFP – Thinking with Things, 1500-1940

Call For Papers Thinking with Things, 1500-1940: An interdisciplinary material culture workshop for graduate students 25th April 2014

Deadline for abstract submission: 3rd March 2014

Keynote speaker: Dr Spike Bucklow, Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge Closing Remarks: Dr Katy Barrett, Royal Museums, Greenwich

Thinking with Things is a one-day workshop to be held on Friday 25th April, 2014 at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), at the University of Cambridge. Research students from any discipline within the arts, social sciences, and humanities are invited to submit proposals for papers, and/or panels of three papers, that consider how ‘things’ can put a new perspective on the past. This workshop is affiliated with the ‘Things: Comparing Material Cultures’ seminar series at CRASSH www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/programmes/things…

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CFP: “Threads of Circulation”

Ohio State University, Department of History of Art

Columbus, OH, April 11 – 12, 2014

Proposals due: January 17, 2014 (extended deadline)

This conference seeks papers that address and examine the shifting 
trajectories and connected histories of individual objects and
 ideologies across time and space. Over the last decade, there has been 
increased interest in network culture in ancient cultures, the early
 modern world, and postmodern globalization. This conference will focus 
on the ways in which material culture – singular artworks, objects, and 
technologies – reveals what Sanjay Subrahmanyam proposes as “the at
 times fragile threads that connect the globe.” In paying particular
 attention to perhaps paradoxical heterogeneity and following the
“fragile threads” of memory, history, and culture, this conference 
confronts and questions historical and cultural transmission across 
time and space.…

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Mary Douglas Awards for Master’s study at UCL

The Anthropology department at UCL (University College London) is pleased to announce the Mary Douglas Awards, to students applying for Master’s programmes for entry in September 2013.  These fee waivers, worth between £2000 -£ 4000 pounds will be awarded based on the merit of individual applications.

There are three exciting and complementary Masters programmes for students interested in objects, art, museums, digital technologies and media, follow the respective links for details regarding how to apply:

MA Material & Visual Culture:  for object-focused cultural explorations, visual culture, consumption, and heritage

MSc Digital Anthropology: exploring the role of the digital in social life in cross-cultural perspective

MA Culture.Materials.Design:  for design anthropology, the new anthropology of materials, and the anthropology of making

 …

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Review: Peter Carey’sThe Chemistry of Tears

Untitled 2Haidy Geismar, UCL

[Ed note: This is Material World Blog's 1000'th post!]

I’ve been thinking about novels that have something profound to contribute to Material Culture Studies having just read Peter Carey’s The Chemistry of Tears which is a remarkable instantiation of the affective entanglement of techniques, materials, and emotion.

A bare overview: the story focuses around Catherine Gehrig, a bereaved horologist, whose secret lover (a colleague at a fictitious London museum) has suddenly died. Her boss, in an attempt to help her suffering, gives her several boxes to work on: the contents of which need to be conserved and put back together. The boxes contain a dismantled automata made in the 19th century in Germany. A number of notebooks accompany the object and stealing them to read at home she enters the world of Henry Brandling, recently bereaved of a young child himself, and desperate to prevent the death of his ailing son.…

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