People & Things on the Move: Migration and Material Culture

People & Things on the Move: Migration and Material Culture

We seek papers for a workshop to be held May 13-15, 2015 dedicated to exploring the relationship between migration and material culture in the modern world (the 18th century to the present), sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. We welcome paper proposals from both academics (including advanced graduate students) and practitioners—historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, public historians, librarians, archivists, and museum curators—who are working on the intersection between migration and material culture in any region of the world. We hope that selected papers will be published as a special issue or forum for the American Historical Review.

Both migration and material culture have profoundly shaped societies and cultures across the globe in the modern era. This workshop will define migration broadly, to include intra-state, international and intra-imperial migration, as well as “forced” and “voluntary” migrations. Our use of material culture is also inclusive, embracing the objects that furnish domestic interiors, architecture, tools, books, toys, clothing, modes of transportation, musical instruments, dance, and even food. The precise relationships between migration and material culture have varied dramatically across time, space, and political and social context. Our goal is to analyze and thereby be able to explain the diversity of these relationships and experiences.

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Guest Post: Adam Golub on Teaching Childhood Through Myth and Counter-Memory

Adam Golub is an associate professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. His syllabus for AMST 420, “Childhood and Family in American Culture,” can be found on his faculty web page.

This semester marks the fourth time I will teach an upper-division American Studies elective called “Childhood and Family in American Culture.” One of my main goals in teaching the course is to help students engage critically with the deep nostalgia and powerful mythology that surrounds childhood in the United States. I want students to reflect on the ways in which the sentimental stories we tell ourselves about childhood—stories of innocence, happiness, comfort, and coming-of-age—tend to obscure the diverse experiences of actual children. One way I teach this disconnect between myth and experience is to start the course by pairing two childhood narratives: one that reinforces the American mythology of childhood, and one that exposes the margins and silences in that mythology.

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