2019 - University of Delaware

Consortium for American Material Culture

13th Annual Meeting
University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, and Winterthur Museum
May 16-17, 2019


University of Delaware
Sandy Isenstadt, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Art History
Martin Brückner, Professor of English
Co-Directors of the Center for Material Culture Studies


Catherine Whalen, Bard Graduate Center
Cindy Falk, Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York at Oneonta
Shirley Wajda, independent scholar
Anne Verplanck, American Studies, Penn State Harrisburg
Fath Davis Ruffins, Curator, Division of Cultural and Community Life
Wendy Bellion, Art History, University of Delaware
Jennifer Van Horn, History, University of Delaware
Ritchie Garrison, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture and History, University of Delaware
Catharine Dann Roeber, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 16

Old College, Room 211, University of Delaware

10:00-10:30: Coffee and introductions (individuals and their programs)

10:35-11:30: Martin and Sandy present Center for Material Cultures Studies (CMCS), Delaware Public Humanities Institute (DELPHI) and new book series with University of Delaware Press (UDP)

11:30-35: Break

11:30-12:00: Background of CAMC
Laying out issues for afternoon discussion (with Catherine Whalen)

12:00-1:30: Lunch (catered)

1:30-4:00: Whither CAMC? Some discussion points:
- What are the new directions, questions, opportunities, etc. for the field?
- What to do about membership?
- Annual meetings, size and format?
- CAMC at ASA? Relatedly, CAMC and non-MCS specialists who teach/study/represent MCS approaches?
- Diversity: What does the term mean for CAMC? How is it achieved? How does CAMC demonstrate its commitment to diversity, as we define it?
- Institutional recognition and/or Institutionalization of MCS? Support structures from within departments or from outside the academy? How can CAMC advocate for greater resources for material culture studies?
- Policy vs. ad hoc: how prescriptive should CAMC be?

6:30: Dinner

Other Afternoon/Evening Activities:
- University Museums (Old College and Mechanical Hall Galleries) are open till 5pm, as is the Walt Whitman exhibition in Special Collections
- Downtown Newark does Thursday evening concerts on Main Street, 7-8pm free to all: https://newarkde.gov/683/Spring-Concert-Series
- Main Street Movies 5 is a terrific local movie theater, easy walking distance of the Marriott: https://mainstreetmovies5.com
- UD’s Symphonic Band is performing on May 16, 8-10pm: https://www.music.udel.edu/events/event/190516_symphonic%20band

Friday, May 17

Winterthur Museum

9:45: Arrive and park

10:00: Meet in Galleries Reception Atrium

10:30: Tour of Unity by Design: Midcentury Modernism at Winterthur and Galleries

10:30-11:00: Some other museum/library content TBA

11:00-11:15: Break and get to Conservation Labs

11:15-12:00: Conservation: Times/Labs
- 11:15-11:25: Paintings - Katie Rovito (Room 406)
- 11:25-11:35: Preventive - Melissa King (Room 402)
- 11:40-11:50am: Objects - Madeline Hagerman (Room 308)
- 11:50-noon: Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory - Rosie Grayburn/Catherine Matsen (Room 302)

12:00: Free for lunch
Catharine can arrange a regular tour if anyone is interested


All valued the intimacy of CAMC meetings but also wondered how to address a field (material culture studies) that has broadened considerably since CAMC was founded, with a major virtue being its inclusivity, encompassing cultural institutions such as museums, as well as academic disciplines, where material culture approaches are mobilized in diverse fashion by diverse constituencies. While not calling to explicitly expand membership beyond a core group, it was generally resolved that individuals and institutions hosting future CAMC meetings be encouraged to invite local individuals and groups that might value our discussions. - Sandy Isenstadt and Martin Brückner


Object Speed Dating.pdf, Bard Graduate Center

Twenty Questions to Ask an Object.pdf, Material Culture Caucus, American Studies Association


American Material Culture Studies historiography:

• J. Ritchie Garrison, "Material Cultures," in A Companion to American Cultural History, ed. Karen Halttunen (Malden, A.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), 295-310. Garrison 2008.pdf

• Ann Smart Martin and Ritchie Garrison, “Shaping the Field: The Multidisciplinary Perspectives of Material Culture,” in American Material Culture: The Shape of the Field, ed. Martin and Garrison (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, 1997), 1-20. Martin and Garrison 1997.pdf

• Thomas J. Schlereth, ed., Material Culture Studies in America: An Anthology (American Association for State and Local History, 1982); Preface and Part I: Statement of History (CW note: beware of excessive highlighting). Schlereth 1982.pdf

Recent commentary:

• Jennifer L. Roberts, "Things: Material Turn, Transnational Turn," American Art 31, no. 2 (Summer 2017): 64-69. Roberts 2017.pdf

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License