The American and New England Studies Program at Boston University is pleased to announce its 2013 graduate student conference: “Beyond Production and Consumption: Refining American Material Culture Studies.” We invite submissions that engage material culture from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives and that examine processes of appropriation, transformation, reclamation, or reinvention related to American material culture. The conference seeks to enlarge our understanding of what Arjun Appadurai has identified as “the social life of things,” and to extend the analytical and methodological processes that underpin material culture studies.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to: multivalent and/or mutable objects; transnational patterns in the use and categorization of objects; reclamation and redevelopment of the landscape; the labeling and rehabilitation of gray fields and/or brown fields; gentrification, adaptive use, and/or decay in urban and rural settings; objects relating to immigration and/or migration; the aesthetics of material transformation; literary representations and/or characterizations of the shifting meaning of things/objects; semiotic sign-shifting; material makeovers; popular representations of object processes [Storage Wars, Antiques Roadshow, etc.]; adaptations of objects, edifices, landscapes, over the course of time; transgressive or subversive objects; cultural attitudes towards material transformation; adaptations of the landscape and/or livestock through agriculture; those who reclaim/reinvent/repurpose objects [pickers, pawners/hockers, traders, advertisers, peddlers]; the shifting meanings and/or instabilities of “craftsmanship” in a global economy; the recycling of fashion and trends; appropriation and transformation through bodily actions [using, eating, watching, performing]; notions of expiration [foods, shelf life, fads, excess].
The Graduate Student Association of the American and New England Studies Program at Boston University is committed to collaborative scholarship and encourages graduate students in all fields with interdisciplinary interests related to American material culture to submit proposals for twenty-minute presentations. A successful proposal will identify its sources and methodology and will be analytic rather than descriptive. The conference will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2013 on Boston University’s Charles River Campus. Submit abstracts of no more than 250 words and a two-page CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified before Friday, January 11.
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