Tag Archives | material culture

Book Review: My Life with Things: The Consumer Diaries by Elizabeth Chin

Haidy Geismar, UCL Anthropology

My Life With Things: The Consumer Diaries by Elizabeth Chin, 2016. Duke University Press.

My Life with Things is an engaging, quirky, auto-ethnography detailing key moments of Elizabeth Chin’s life, focusing especially on her passionate relationship with commodities and processes of consumption (from shopping in thrift stores and on eBay through to her obsessions with home decoration). Narratives and diaries written over several years present Chin’s anxieties, desires, and needs as they are emerge in relation to shopping for clothes, for her home, and for her daughter. These are interspersed with a tracking of the personal and familial relationships of Karl Marx. The central argument, that the personal is political, that materiality matters, and that political economy is a sensorium of lived experience as well as a systemic process of the book builds upon Peter Stallybrass’ beautiful essay, Marx’s Coat (1998).…

Continue Reading 0

On Miniatures: a dialogue

In a new series of postings, we draw two research projects on miniatures together in dialogue:

Miniatures Matter

Jonathan Walz

Jonathan Walz is an anthropologist who practices archaeology in eastern Africa and the western Indian Ocean. This contribution arises from his long-term interest in representations of archaeology and Africa and previous explorations of miniatures, often overlooked by archaeologists more typically drawn to monuments. The tendency to miniaturize impacts the form and substance of practices, materials, and the eventual effects of things on humans in the endless entanglement of material, agency, subjectivity, memory, and affect. Postage stamps collapse of multiple symbols into proximity motivates metonymy and the exchanges and contests among bundled ideas rooted in the negotiated political landscape of the public and nation-state.

Continue Reading

Broken Stories

Adam Drazin, UCL Anthropology

How, when and why do people start to see something as”broken”? Do objects around the home just have two states, broken and working, or are there many other kinds of states they can be in? Clearly, the significance of many domestic objects is in relation to the projects of home which surround them and preoccupy the groups of people living together in a household. In some ways, household things are materialisations of projects, and ideas of being broken and fixed express this.

The Broken Stories project involved a group of Masters students on the UCL course Materials/Anthropology/Design at UCL working with Fixperts on issues of what kinds of fixing happen in the home, and what kinds of situations the Fixperts might get involved in.…

Continue Reading

Call for papers: Foolish things, clever stuff? The material side of nursing and care.

Call for Papers: Foolish things, clever stuff? The material side of nursing and care.
18th– 20th January 2017, Heidelberg

Nursing is more than an interpersonal rapport in which individuals are connected to one another in a special relationship. In the course of the organisation of nursing and care – whether in a nursing home, a hospital or at home – a multitude of diverse items are involved, each with their own object-logic. Exactly what these are and how they are perceived by the nursing staff or the patients varies considerably and is dependent for instance upon the setting under consideration or the temporal context. How though, when considered in combination, do things which are neither an arbitrarily applicable means to an end (foolish things) nor as sophisticated troubleshooting all-rounders (clever stuff) – contribute to the construction of nursing and care?…

Continue Reading

Popular Art and Portuguese Identity. Anatomy of an Exhibition

An event with Professor Anthony Shelton

Thursday 21 May 2015, 6pm, Room G01, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Between the 1920s-1950s, rural popular art became an important part of the government-sponsored re-creation of Portuguese national identity and history. Books and articles were written about popular art, films were produced on it and domestic and international exhibitions displayed it, creating a particularly Portuguese ‘taste’ that hid the dire conditions of poverty, suffering, and illiteracy that characterized many of its rural provinces. Sixty-five years later, UBC MOA (Museum of Anthropology) will open a major exhibition on Portuguese popular art. This talk will discuss the complex mixture of ideologies and philosophies, which underlie the representation of popular art and national identity during the dictatorship (Estado Novo), its re-accommodation after the establishment of democracy in 1974, and the challenges of curating an exhibition that deals with historical imaginations.…

Continue Reading

Aesthetics and ethics: An enquiry into their relationship

 

A one-day workshop

​Wednesday 6 May 2015 9:30 am – 4 pm

Venue: Daryll Forde Seminar Room

Department of Anthropology

University College London

14 Taviton, London WC1H 0BW

 

Keynote speakers:

Christopher Pinney (University College London)

Roger Sansi-Roca (Goldsmiths)

 

Organizers:

Haidy Geismar

Elena Magdalena Craciun

  

The relationship between aesthetics and ethics has long been the topic of scholarly debates, from Kant’s (1928[1790]) insistence that the experience of beauty involved disinterested contemplation and, subsequently, the separation of aesthetics from ethics, or Wittgenstein’s (1961[1889]) enigmatic proposition that ‘ethics and aesthetics are one’, to the numerous enquiries into the ethical aspects of art and art criticism or the aesthetic aspects of moral life and moral evaluation (e.g. Bourdieu 1984, Foucault 1985, 1986, Eco 1986, Eagleton 1990, Guattari 1995, Korsmeyer 1998, Levinson 2001, Rancière 2006, Osborne and Tanner 2007).…

Continue Reading

20th Anniversary of the ASA Material Culture Caucus: The Video

Since its formation in 1994, the Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association (ASA) has bridged the gap between university-based and museum-based scholars to promote the study of material culture in American Studies programs. To celebrate its twentieth birthday, the Caucus sponsored a workshop on Friday November 7, 2014, during the ASA national meeting in Los Angeles.

In the spirit of fun embedded in the conference theme, Debby Andrews, Sarah Anne Carter, Estella Chung, Ellen Gruber Garvey, and Catherine Whalen challenged workshop participants to play a variant of the classic game, “Twenty Questions.” Videographer Mark Escribano documented the event. To see how the workshop played out, and how such questions can inspire object-based exercises in the classroom or the museum, follow these links:

Watch the Twenty Years, Twenty Questions to Ask an Object video here

Read the Twenty Questions here

The Material Culture Caucus organizers wish to encourage participation in the 2015 Annual Meeting: “The (Re)production of Misery and the Ways of Resistance,” October 8-11, 2015, Toronto, Canada.…
Continue Reading

CFP: ASA Material Culture Caucus

The Material Culture Caucus (MCC) of the American Studies Association (ASA) wishes to encourage participation in the 2015 Annual Meeting: “The (Re)production of Misery and the Ways of Resistance,” October 8-11, 2015, Toronto, Canada. To read the conference Call for Papers please visit the ASA website.
Areas of interest related to the theme include, but are not limited to, the material culture of:
• War and other forms of violence
• Empire and colonialism
• Slavery
• Crisis and trauma
• Diaspora and immigration
• Prisons
• Poverty
• ‘Basic needs’: food (and water), clothing, and shelter
• Alienated/unalienated labor
• Inequitable/‘fair’ trade
• Racism
• Patriarchy/feminism
• Heteronormativity/queerness
• Ruins and preservation
• NAGPRA, repatriation, and cultural patrimony
• Climate change/sustainability
• Religion and spirituality
• Failure in business, technology, architecture and design, or relationships
• depression/the Depression
• Disability/access
• Consumerism: excess, ethical consumption, advertising, shopping malls, dark stores
• Entertainment
• Comfort/discomfort
• Self disciplining: beauty rituals, dieting, exercise, organizing, ‘happiness’ coaching
The MCC hopes to help link potential panelists with shared interests in material culture topics.…
Continue Reading

The Power of Print

When Philae phoned home to Earth a couple of weeks ago, the world cheered. The European Space Agency (ESA) had achieved an amazing first in space exploration – landing a robotic lander on a comet! A comet! However, the cheers became somewhat subdued within hours of the landing, all because of a shirt. The print of a shirt, to be exact.

London native Dr. Matt Taylor, ESA Project Scientist, sparked a social media storm with his apparel during a media briefing on that historic 12th of November.

 

 

Women, and men, from all backgrounds and professions took to Twitter in outrage at Taylor’s shirt, citing the shirt as sexist and perpetuating the glass ceiling for women in STEM fields.  …

Continue Reading

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.…

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes