The Life Of The Object: An Experimental Workshop And Conference On Production, Consumption, and Creative Reuse In American Culture
The Mid-America American Studies Association (MAASA) Conference at The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by the UW Art History Department, the Material Culture Certificate Program, the Material Culture Focus Group, the Art History Grad Forum, and the Chipstone Foundation
April 7-11, 2011
Historians and cultural critics who study objects have long focused on the relationships between production and consumption, but these dynamics deserve reexamination in today's object-flooded world. At the same time, the concept and aesthetic of reuse is enjoying the spotlight in contemporary fashion and design, but has been employed for many years by architects, artists, and the American public as a strategy for survival as well as a political statement. This interdisciplinary experimental workshop and conference invites questions related to the core themes of production, consumption, and reuse in American history and contemporary life.
This workshop and conference offers an unconventional venue for considering the role of objects in American culture. It will consist of hands-on workshops and experiments with objects while also offering a more traditional scholarly context for the presentation of papers. We believe that our understanding of material culture relies as much upon rigorous scholarly research as the sensorial and tactile engagement with artifacts and cultural landscapes.