Modern Materials: the archaeology of things from the early modern, modern and contemporary world
Friday 16-Sunday 18 October 2009. KEBLE COLLEGE, OXFORD UNIVERSITY
How does the study of material things contribute to our understanding of the early modern, modern and contemporary world? What is the distinctive contribution of archaeology in these studies?
The 7th annual meeting of the CHAT conference group focuses on the archaeological study of ‘Modern Materials’ – from ‘small things forgotten’ to large and complex technological artefacts; and from discrete, single objects to large, disparate assemblages.
The study of material things is a central element of all archaeology. But some have argued that a concentration on materials fetishizes things, focusing too much attention on the empirical detail of materials or manufacture. Equally, others have suggested that material culture studies are too often strangely dematerialised – focused only on social relationships and not on the physicality of objects. Responding to both these arguments, CHAT 2009 considers and celebrates the diversity of archaeological studies of ‘modern materials’, and their interdisciplinary contribution.
Papers are invited that focus on the study of particular ‘modern materials,’ broadly interpreted: the many material dimensions of the early modern and modern periods and the contemporary world (c. AD 1600 to present).
Questions addressed by the conference will include, but are not limited to:
Is it helpful to define the archaeology of the modern world according to its focus upon material things?
How can contemporary and historical archaeology relate to anthropological material culture studies?
How can we rethink archaeology’s distinctive approaches to studying things as important tools and resources, rather than simply methods for dry empiricism?
Registration: £40 (including tea and coffee, wine reception, excluding accommodation)
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to the conference committee at ChatOxford@gmail.com by 31 May 2009 at the latest. Any queries should be sent to the same email address.
- Keynote Speaker: Prof Nick Shepherd (University of Cape Town)
- Discussants: Prof Mary Beaudry (Boston University), Prof Laurie WIlkie (University of California, Berkeley), Dr James Symonds (Sheffield University), Prof Chris Gosden (Oxford University)
- Concluding remarks: Hedley Swain (MLA)
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