The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware helps to integrate and enhance the University’s rich resources for the creation, study, and conservation of material culture. It promotes the learning from and the teaching about all things people make and the ways people have acted upon the physical and visible world. This is realized in its popular undergraduate minor in material culture studies. It also sponsors interdisciplinary seminars and conferences, including the very successful Symposium for Emerging Scholars, and fosters public understanding of material culture in our community beyond campus, at the state, regional, national, and international levels.

DELPHI 2016: Fellowship Opportunity Information

Once again, the Center for Material Culture Studies is running the Delaware Public Humanities Institute (DELPHI). University of Delaware MA and PhD students who are pursuing material culture-related projects are invited to apply for this fellowship. Twelve recipients will participate in a two-week Institute, June 6 – June 17, 2016, during which they will learn a variety of skills for engaging nonspecialists through public speaking and digital media. Fellows are also given $4500 to facilitate uninterrupted research to bring material culture projects to fruition. Interested parties should attend the upcoming DELPHI information reception, on February 15th at 5:00PM. The reception will be held at Old College, Room 221, Newark, DE. For more information on DELPHI and the application process, see: https://sites.udel.edu/materialculture/files/2016/02/Delphi-Summer-fellowship-Announcement-2016-294wcjr.pdf See also: http://sites.udel.edu/materialculture/delphi/   Event Information: DELPHI Information Reception When: February 15th, 5:00PM Where: Old College, Room 221, Newark,...

Upcoming Lecture: “Unfurling Western Notions of Nature and Amerindian Alternatives”

Title: “Unfurling Western Notions of Nature and Amerindian Alternatives” Speaker: Dr. Eglee Lopez Zent When: February 15th / 12:20 – 1:10 Where: TBD Dr. Zent’s passions reside at the intersections of anthropology, art, botany, and conservation biology. After studying Anthropology and Ecology at the Masters and Doctoral levels, Dr. Zent went on to lead ethnographic and ecological studies focusing on the ecosystems that make up the rainforests of Venezuelan Guyana. Dr. Zent has conducted over two decades of field research with the Jotï people, an Amerindian group that inhabits this territory. Through this work, Dr. Zent has explored such interdisciplinary fields as ethnoecology, ecocosmology, ethnocartography, ethnobotany, ethnomycology, ecogony, and behavioral ecology. Her latest work, “Unfurling Western Notions of Nature and Amerindian Alternatives,” addresses many of these fields as she explores global and historical definitions of “nature.” In this investigation, Dr. Zent examines the variety of values that societies have given the term “nature.” Here, Dr. Zent focuses on a portion of the Western tradition as her study spans Ancient-Greece to the present day. Discussing Western, Amerindian, and global conceptions of “nature,” Dr. Zent goes on to explore pragmatic solutions to create improved environmental ethics. Dr. Zent will be sharing her research on February 15th at 12:20 – 1:10. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend to learn more about Dr. Zent’s unique approach to both the arts and the sciences. BIO: Eglee L. Zent is a Venezuelan mother of two sons. She has en eclectic academic background (art, anthropology, botany, conservation biology). She conducted studies for her PhD at the Universities of California at Berkeley and Georgia finishing in 1999. She...

Call for Proposals – 2016 Emerging Scholars Symposium

Possessed: The Material Culture of Ownership Call for Proposals – 2016 Emerging Scholars Symposium Friday April 22 – Saturday, April 23, 2016 The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware invites submissions for papers to be given at the 14th Annual Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars held in Newark, Delaware on Friday April 22, 2016 and Saturday April 23, 2016. We seek papers that investigate the possessability of objects and ideas, that explore the nature of ownership, and that question the relationship between humans and the things they call their own. In response to recent global data breaches, information leaks, and copyright infringements, people from different places and backgrounds have asserted their right to own the material and the immaterial in politically significant ways. At stake is the enduring question–who owns what and how is that ownership exercised? Can immaterial goods like data and designs ever be possessed? What structures interfere with or uphold the right to own something? What happens when a thing gets taken away? Possible topics include, but are not limited to: The meaning of ownership of material and immaterial things Things that resist or desire ownership​ Exchanged, circulated, and transitional objects Pirated, stolen, and leaked things Confiscated and repurposed things Artistic ownership, forgeries, and copies The weight that rights of ownership bear upon an object Hierarchies between owner(s) and object How rituals and traditions shape the ownership of things Heritage, legacy, and ownership The relationship between property and propriety How evolving technologies challenge or support notions of ownership Finally, we encourage papers that reflect upon and promote an interdisciplinary discussion on...

Call for Papers for 2016 Symposium, CMCS UD and Universität Mainz

CALL FOR PAPERS   The Refuge of Objects/ Objects of Refuge   An International Symposium organized by: UD–CMCS and Universität Mainz–SOCUM Open to Faculty and Graduate Students of University of Delaware December 14-18, 2016 Sponsored by Universität Mainz, Germany Dear Colleagues, We invite your proposals for papers or workshops to be given at the first collaborative symposium organized by the University of Delaware’s Center for Material Culture Studies (CMCS) and the Center for Social and Cultural Studies (SOCUM) at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany. The symposium will take place December 14-18, 2016 and will be hosted by the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany, which will sponsor travel and lodging for all selected participants (pending funding from JGU Mainz; see below). The theme of the symposium is the material culture of “Refuge.” In view of recent political events and natural catastrophes that have displaced millions and created international humanitarian crises, this term has acquired a new sense urgency for students and teachers working in the fields related to material culture studies. Definitions dating back to the great trans-Atlantic migrations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have characterized “refuge” in mostly spatio-political terms as insular settings of escape or privilege, as colonial enclaves or postnational territories, or as secular or sacred retreats. Rather than rehearse the spatial premise of these terms, however, the aim of this symposium is to reflect historically, methodologically, and theoretically on the material dimensions of “refuge,” that is, on the way in which objects generate or confound refuge, or accompany or encumber refugees, in short, the materiality conditioning both the refuge and refugees. Seeking to develop...

Call for Participation: Material Culture at the ASA annual meeting 2016

“Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are” Call for Participation: Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association November 17-20, 2016 / Denver, Colorado Application deadline: January 10, 2016 Send ideas/abstracts to: Anne Verplanck (aav3  at  psu dot edu) The Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association wishes to encourage participation in the 2016 Annual Meeting: “Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are,” November 17-20, 2016, Denver, Colorado. To read the conference Call for Papers please click here. Areas of interest related to the theme include (but are not limited to) the material culture of: Dwellings House vs. Home Consumerism – what things make a house?  What things make a home? Non-traditional houses/homes Communities Institutions Gender Feminism/patriarchy Heteronormism/queerness Racism Access Hospitality Defense Families, friendships, relationships Communications Diaspora/migrations Work and management Other uses or understandings of home Comfort/discomfort Youth and/or aging Social status Empire and colonialism Slavery Crisis and trauma Poverty ‘Basic needs’:shelter Household labor Ruins and preservation NAGPRA, repatriation, and cultural patrimony Religion and spirituality Disability/access Entertainment We hope to help link potential panelists with shared interests in material culture topics. If you, your colleagues, or doctoral students are considering proposals for the conference, please email us your panel CFP or your paper idea and we will work to connect similar panelists and papers. We are also happy to offer suggestions on complete panels. Additionally, we welcome opportunities to work with other ASA caucuses and committees. NB: All interested parties who email us will still be responsible for following all posted instructions and for submitting their own panels or papers to the ASA by the ASA deadline (February 1,...

Green Light: Prospects in Lighting Design and Technology

“Green Light: Prospects in Lighting Design and Technology” symposium will be held on Friday, October 16, 2015 at: Clayton Hall, University of Delaware 100 David Hollowell Drive Newark, DE 19716 Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. Program 10:00 a.m. – 5:40 p.m. Reception 5:45 – 7:00 p.m. Tickets:  $55 or $25 for full time students with ID (includes symposium, seated lunch, and parking) To register and for more information, go to www.udconnection.com/green-light....

Very Bad Things:  Material Culture and Disobedience

    This annual symposium, organized entirely by University of Delaware graduate students, provides emerging scholars—graduate students and recent PhDs from a variety of academic disciplines as well as museum professionals—with a venue for interdisciplinary conversations centering on material culture. We encourage discussion across perceived boundaries of discipline, medium, and methodology; past symposia have included scholars and professionals from such fields as anthropology, art history, historical archeology, history, and American studies. Each fall, we welcome paper proposals from graduate students and professionals early in their careers on any topic related to material culture. Presented by the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Winterthur, Delaware Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library: Saturday, April 11, 2015 Keynote speaker: Scott Herring Associate Professor of English at Indiana University   For the full schedule, click here . ....

Summer Research Fellowships in Material Culture Studies

Up to twelve ten-week summer fellowships will be awarded to University of Delaware MA and PhD students in the arts, humanities, and social sciences pursuing research in material culture studies, broadly defined to include both the preservation and conservation of objects and the scholarly investigation of the relationship among people, material processes, and objects. Fellowship recipients will participate in a two-week Institute, June 1 – June 12, 2015, during which they will learn a variety of skills for engaging non-specialists through public speaking and digital media. The fellowship funds uninterrupted summer research on participants’ own projects. Click here for more information and for application instructions . . .        ...

Survivor Objects

“Survivor Objects” considers the meanings of material objects that have been tempered by trauma. By bearing historical witness, such objects can come to hold a privileged place in cultural memory and, as a result, play a powerful role for present-day communities. The symposium features faculty, graduate students, curators, and conservation specialists from across the country.  Please see the full program for panel and paper topics. November 14th and 15th, 2014 Clayton Hall Conference Center 100 David Hollowell Drive, Newark, Delaware      “Survivor Objects” is open to the public but registration is required.  The Marriott Courtyard – Newark is offering discounted room rates of $134.00 per night for symposium attendees. Follow this link to book your room now: Group rate: Survivor Objects Room Block. This rate is available only until October 24,...

The Material Culture of War

A Fall, 2014, colloquium sponsored by the Center for Material Culture Studies On the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, this series of talks by faculty, advanced graduate students, and experts from the community provides interdisciplinary perspectives on people and objects during times of armed conflict, declared or not, on the battlefield and on the home front. Topics range widely and include images of war in photographs and other media, health and technology in the organized violence of war, design measures that accommodate those injured during war, victory gardens, uniforms, armor, generals, foot soldiers, bombs, what’s destroyed, what survives. Wednesday 12:30-1:10 Integrated Science and Engineering room 222 MCST299-010: One credit. Pass/Fail. No...