Call For Papers: A Graduate Student Symposium
"Material Worlds: Consumption, Circulation and Meaning in Colonial Societies"
The McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Barra Foundation, University of Pennsylvania Departments of History, Art History, South Asia Regional Studies, and Anthropology, Latin American Cultures Program, Middle East Center and African Studies Center invite paper proposals for a graduate student symposium entitled "Material Worlds: Consumption, Circulation and Meaning in Colonial Societies" to be held at the University of Pennsylvania on September 20-21, 2002.
The purpose of the symposium is to integrate theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of colonialism and material culture in order to foster innovative scholarship in new cross-disciplinary areas of study. Over the last fifteen years, scholars in a range of disciplines have generated radically new approaches to the study of colonialism and material culture respectively. There has been little concerted effort to date, however, to bring the two fields into dialogue. In order to facilitate a productive cross-fertilization, we plan to combine the emphasis in contemporary material culture studies on consumption, circulation and meaning with the focus in colonial scholarship on power, identity and cultural hybridity. In doing so, we hope to enhance our understanding -- both at a theoretical level and at the level of local historical specificity -- how the "social life of things" helped to reproduce, negotiate and contest colonial relationships. Through the symposiumís interdisciplinary and global scope, we intend to breach the limitations imposed by disciplinary and area studies conventions on such investigations.
"Material Worlds" will emphasize a conception of material culture that includes circulating objects vested with social meaning, value and use, such as (but not exclusive to) clothing, household objects, items of trade, and printed and written texts. Architecture, as a large-scale convergence of materials, techniques and socio-cultural messages, represents another important aspect of material culture to be addressed by the symposium. Themes for exploration may include the ways in which patterns of use and consumption produced colonial identities; how the different meanings that adhered to colonial objects were deployed in the maintenance or contestation of colonial power; how commodification and fetishism mediated relationships among diverse social groups. The organizers and sponsors especially encourage students in the disciplines of History, Art History, Architectural History, Anthropology, Folklore, Literature and Archaeology to apply. Papers from all geographical areas and historical periods will be welcomed, provided that they focus on colonial societies.
Proposals should include a brief c.v. and a 1000 word prospectus explaining the substance of the proposed paper, the sources to be used, and the topic's relationship to the conference themes. Those invited to participate in the conference will be asked to submit papers of 25-30 pages in length by July 1st, 2002 for pre-circulation to conference attendees. Limited travel support will be available for conference participants. A graduate student committee, including the organizers, Maria Feliciano (Art History, UPenn) and Yanna Yannakakis (History, UPenn) will screen proposals and arrange sessions and faculty commentators. Direct questions to the email addresses. Send three copies of the proposal to address below. Proposals must be post-marked by January 25, 2002.
"Material Worlds Symposium" attn:Yanna Yannakakis
The McNeil Center For Early American Studies
University of Pennsylvania
3619 Locust Walk, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6213
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