Second Annual Materializing Race “Unconference” on Objects and Identity in #VastEarlyAmerica (zoom)

Wednesday 25 August 2020 (Zoom), 1-3 PM EDT
Proposals due by 1 August 2020

In a commitment to fostering nuanced interpretations of early American objects and meaningful dialogue on historical constructions of race and their legacies, we invite panelists to virtually share and discuss research on the intersections of identity and material culture in #VastEarlyAmerica. Our annual “unconference” seeks to promote a diverse cross-section of scholarship on North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean circa 1450-1830. We welcome approaches and methodologies including the historical, art historical, anthropological, archaeological, and experimental/experiential. Current graduate students, PhDs, ECRs, curators, museum and historic trades interpreters, artists and practitioners of historic methods and crafts, and independent/unaffiliated scholars are all eligible to participate as speakers, with a special welcome to BIPOC, AAPI, #WomenAlsoKnowHistory, and LGBTQ2+.

Proposals should be object-focused and include a brief abstract (250 words + one relevant image) for a 10-15-minute presentation, along with a short CV of no more than 2 pages. Papers addressing topics beyond the geographic and/or temporal scope of #VastEarlyAmerica will not be considered. 

Potential questions and themes for presentations might include:

  • “Things in context” and interpretations of early American objects through the lenses of race, ethnicity, and identity, 1450-1830
  • Potential methodological approaches and revisions/additions to existing material culture frameworks
  • How can #VastEarlyAmerica work to expand the traditional American material culture canon and related connoisseurship? 
  • Historians and material culture specialists as genealogists: how do our own personal family/ancestral narratives intersect with our study of early American history and material culture; the historian as biographer; the biographical object and the object biography
  • Public history, from the exhibition and display of objects in museum settings to historical and character interpretation, to include historic trades and foodways

Papers will be grouped by panel, followed by a moderated group discussion and audience questions via Zoom. In an effort to safeguard our participants and their creative and intellectual property, this event will not be recorded. ​

This event is co-convened by Dr. Cynthia Chin (Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington) and Philippe Halbert (Yale History of Art). For more information, submission requirements, and audience registration (TBA) details, please visit the event page on the Materializing Race website.

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