Call for Proposals

2013 Emerging Scholars Symposium

Embodied Objects: Material Culture Studies in Three Dimensions
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Call for Proposals is now closed.

The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware invites submissions for papers to be given at the Eleventh Annual Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars.

Focus: The objects we create, manipulate, and consume mediate our experience with the world. We seek a broad range of papers that highlight the intersection between objects and humans, things and people. We’re interested in how three-dimensional objects act as extensions of ourselves, provide repositories for memory, help stabilize identity, interrupt our sense of scale and space, give permanence to relationships, and mirror human forms. Papers may also address how objects mediate human sensory experience and create aesthetic meaning. We encourage papers that reflect upon and promote an interdisciplinary discussion on the state of material culture studies today.

Disciplines represented at past symposia include American studies, anthropology, archaeology, consumer studies, English, gender studies, history, museum studies, and the histories of art, architecture, design, and technology. We welcome proposals from graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and those just beginning their teaching or professional careers.

Format: The symposium will consist of nine presentations divided into three panels. Each presentation is limited to eighteen minutes, and each panel is followed by comments from established scholars in the field. There will be two morning sessions and one afternoon session, with breaks for discussion following each session and during lunch. Participants will also have the opportunity to tour Winterthur’s unparalleled collection of early American decorative arts and to engage in a roundtable discussion on Friday, April 19. Travel grants of up to $300 will be available for presenters.

Submissions: The proposal should be no more than 300 words and should clearly indicate the focus of your object-based research, the critical approach you take toward that research, and the significance of your research beyond the academy. While the audience for the symposium consists mainly of university and college faculty and graduate students, we encourage broader participation. In evaluating proposals, we will give preference to those papers that keep a more diverse audience in mind.

Send your proposal, with a current c.v. of no more than two pages, to

Deadline: Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. on November 30, 2012. Speakers will be notified of the vetting committee’s decision in January 2013.

Confirmed speakers will be asked to provide symposium organizers with digital images for use in publicity and are required to submit a final draft of their papers by March 11, 2013.

2013 Emerging Scholars Co-Chairs
Liz Jones, Department of History, American Civilization Program
Amy Torbert, Department of Art History
University of Delaware