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The (After) Lives of Things: Deconstructing and reconstructing material culture

April 7, 2016 - April 9, 2016
University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

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Material things have been used to fashion identities and form social relationships throughout history. This panel seeks to shed light on the intersecting histories of materiality and process in the production and consumption of material culture. It invites papers that examine how physical and intellectual practices such as collecting, repurposing and remaking conveyed materially embedded messages about the subjective experience of their owner-makers, as well as the period in which they were undertaken more broadly. Such practices performed not only physical but semantic changes upon these objects which, due to their revised contexts, reciprocally enacted changes upon their possessors. Examining how these processes allowed individuals to construct identities, spaces, and social bonds, this panel will address issues central to the ‘material turn’ that has characterised recent scholarship within the humanities and, in particular, that of art history. 

Papers concerning all geographical areas and time periods – from the beginning of human history to the present day – are welcome. Potential topics could include, but are not limited to: 

• object biographies
• construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction 
• adaptation and alteration 
• quotation and pastiche, bricollage & photomontage 
• movement: mobility, translation, and geographical transformation
• composite forms of artistic production: quilting, shell/feather/paper-work, collaging 
• affective, familial, and emotional objects
• modes of acquisition: collection, found objects, inheritance, and gift exchange 
• the relationship between mass production and personal identity

Email paper propsals to the session convenor(s) by 9 November 2015. Download a Paper Proposal Guidelines


Sarah Laurenson, University of Edinburgh, 
Freya Gowrley, University of Edinburgh,

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April 7, 2016, 9:00am BST

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