Wednesday, February 07, 2007


[this from Mike Pincombe's Tudor Symposium ...]
Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies, Hilton Shepherd Centre for Medieval Studies
University of Birmingham, 27th – 30th June 2007

Confirmed speakers include: Julian Bowsher, Museum of London; Tarnya Cooper, National Portrait Gallery; Flora Dennis, V&A; Chris Dyer, University of Leicester; Geoff Egan, Museum of London; David Gaimster, Society of Antiquaries; Maria Hayward, AHRC Textile Conservation Centre; Stephen Kelly, Queen’s Belfast; Natasha Korda, Wesleyan; Michelle O'Malley, Sussex; Lena Orlin, UMBC; Giorgio Riello, LSE; Barbara Rosenwein, Loyola; John Styles, University of Hertfordshire; John Thompson, Queen’s Belfast; Jennifer Tiramani, Globe Theatre; Bob Tittler, Concordia; Evelyn Welch, Queen Mary UL.

Panels include: books; music; shoes; pottery; dress accessories; property; clothing and textiles; sacred objects and spaces; personal objects; paintings; reconstructing spaces through objects; the application of modern methods to the study of pre-modern objects.

This conference brings together heritage practitioners and academics from different disciplines to debate the terms of its title. It encourages them to discuss the methods by which they analyse material culture, but also the way they present their findings: how the analytical languages and methods of presentation used within their disciplines reconstruct material culture for a wider audience. Participants will discuss the transferability of modern methodologies to earlier periods and discuss the existence of a specifically pre-modern material culture.

Material culture has become an increasingly important aspect of the study of medieval and early modern societies. Always the foundation of museum practice and the subject of enquiry for archaeologists and social anthropologists, ways of presenting the objects themselves and the findings of research into them have been the focus of increasing critical attention and hence new methodologies. Material culture has more recently become a key feature of scholarly negotiation with a variety of social behaviours across a much wider range of Humanities disciplines. This conference will address the difficulties inherent in a dialogue between diverse disciplinary research agendas, and it is therefore structured in a way which foregrounds such debates. Sessions are arranged around specific objects or categories of object, to which curators and scholars from different disciplines are invited to speak.

The sessions will address the relationship between objects and a range of ‘pre-modern’ concerns, for example, gender, power, status, taste, ideology, space, morality, identity, skill, continental and colonial influence, regional and national identity, inclusion and exclusion, competition and social mobility, location and locality, political climate and legislation. ‘Everyday objects’, a deliberately contentious title, offers a way of questioning the relationship between public and private life and the changing connections between the sacred and the profane.

We still have space in some sessions (see above), and we would welcome suggestions of complete sessions based around different kinds of object. For further information please contact:

Dr Catherine Richardson
Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies
University of Birmingham
0121 414 9511
Fax: 01789 414 992


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