June 2-4, 2005
“Art & Agriculture”: Material Expressions of Rural People & Their Lifeways
Agricultural History Society Symposium
Sponsored by The Benson Ford Research Center, Dearborn, Michigan.
Objects reflect the values and beliefs of those who make and use them. Objects also reflect bigger cultural parameters that dictate adoption, use and abandonment. Do rural and agricultural products have a “look” about them? Do they convey distinctive meanings? What if any special meanings do artists seek to convey through their depictions of rural and agricultural topics? Some scholars have identified as “rural plain” an aesthetic that adapted design motifs rather than adopting high style characteristics. Others have argued that mass-production homogenized material culture and undermined rural distinctiveness. Yet, artists and craftsmen have capitalized on popular perceptions of rural life and continue to do so. The 2005 Agricultural History Society Symposium will explore the meaning of material culture broadly defined to include that produced by and about rural and agricultural people and their lifeways.
Formal paper presentations as well as workshops and hands-on sessions featuring artifacts and material culture can be accommodated, and creative formats are encouraged. Session and workshop proposals should include a 150 word abstract, a brief vita or biographical statement, and a list of presenters in the case of a formal panel. Electronic submissions are preferred.
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