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FRIAS Junior Researcher Conference - MatteReality: Historical Trajectories and Conceptual Futures for Material Culture Studies

When Mar 23, 2017 03:00 PM to
Mar 25, 2017 12:00 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, seminar room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
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“No ideas but in things!” William Carlos’s Williams’s imagist motto from the 1927 sketch for his modernist epic Patterson seems to resonate with current approaches to the objectivizations of cultural expression. The study of material culture is elemental for museum studies, art history, anthropology, and memory studies, which have understood artifacts as register, legacy and archive of human activity. Beyond established readings of material culture as commodity (Appadurai 1986), as narrative, as memory, or as repository of public feeling (Doss 2010), it is their semiotic polyvalence and categorial openness which makes ‘things’ a fertile ground for interpretation in a cultural studies context.

Arguing that we are witnessing a material turn in cultural studies not merely thematically, but foremost theoretically, the conference approaches its subject diachronically, presenting a wide historical scope of case studies. The conference is committed to interdisciplinary exchange and engages in scholarship which reaches out to a wider public through cooperating with public institutions like museums.


Confirmed Speakers
Erika Doss (Notre Dame, USA): “American Art Matters: Rethinking Materiality in American Studies”
Katharina Boehm (Regensburg): “From Archive to Repertoire: The Material Reenactments of Eighteenth-Century Antiquarianism”
Kerstin Fest (Freiburg): “Behind/Before the Curtain: Theatrical Things in Eighteenth-Century Theatre Spaces”
Nikolina Hatton (Freiburg): “‘A happy day for booksellers, music-sellers, and print shops!’: Consumerism and the Sociability of Things in Jane Austen”
Klara Stephanie Szlezák (Passau): “‘Nearly 30,000 Objects Reflecting Global Jewish Identity’”: Artifacts at the Jewish Museum at New York
Veronika Hofstätter (Stuttgart): “Materialized Bodies”: 19th Century Captive Memorials”
Ulrike Zimmermann (Freiburg): “On Things from Sea and Shore: British Naval Heroism in Memory and Material Culture
Ines Detmers (Regensburg): “Bloomsbury Objects: Reading Charleston as a Memorial Chronotope”
Pia Masurczak (Freiburg): “The real, true, original native way“– Colonial Photography as Material Reality
Katharina Fackler (Graz, Austria): “From Polaroid to Instagram: Reconceptualizing Photographs‘ Materiality in the Digital Age”
Nicole Falkenhayner (Freiburg): “The Materiality of Distant Communication Dreams: Dreams Rewired (2015)”
Susanne Leikam (Regensburg): “American Visions of the Arctic’s Perennial Ice: Glaciers, Material Ecocriticism, and Transnational American Studies”
Kylie Crane (Mainz): “Plastic Preservation”

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Conference Organizers and Contact
Dr. Juliane Schwarz-Bierschenk, Englisches Seminar, Nordamerikastudien, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
PD Dr. Ingrid Gessner, American Studies, University of Regensburg
Dr. Miriam Nandi, Englisches Seminar, Literaturwissenschaft, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg


Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
Albertstr. 19, Seminarraum
79104 Freiburg i. Br.