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

Refugee Welcome Center Hamburg

Refugee Welcome Center Hamburg

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 a lasting partnership with UD and CMCS, the conference organizers at JGU Mainz are inviting faculty and graduate students from UD to share their material culture perspective and to consider the materiality of refuge across the disciplines, periods, and geographies in all the diversity of material objects involved. In tandem with the conference theme of “The Refuge of Objects/ Objects of Refuge,” the conference committee invites papers that showcase material culture scholarship as practiced at UD in three different formats: conference papers, roundtable presentations, and hands-on workshops.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

— Fugitive Things

— Things of Im/Migration

— Sanctuary Objects, objects of respite

— Material Witness/Witness Matters

— Objects in Translation

— Objects as Transition

— Safe Things

— Survivor Objects

— In/direct objects

— Object Relations

— Sentimental Objects

— Remembered things, forgotten objects

— Traumatic Objects

A one-page proposal and a brief biography of the author/workshop leader (one that includes full name and professional designation) should be submitted to: Proposals will be vetted by an interdisciplinary committee at JGU Mainz.

Deadline:  December 10, 2015

Because the symposium will be funded by German institutions including JGU Mainz, the German Research Foundation, and the State of Rheinland-Pfalz, those invited to present papers will be asked to commit to the conference dates by submitting a separate document of commitment.