[URBANTH-L]AAA CFP: Modern Material Culture

Andrew Gardner gardner at ups.edu
Sat Feb 14 21:05:12 EST 2009

I'm passing this along for a friend:

Call for Papers AAA 2009: Panel on Modern Material Culture

Please see the session and paper abstract below.

If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please send
your name, affiliation, paper title, and abstract (no more than 250 words)
by Friday, March 13, 2009 to Angela Orlando (angelamarie at ucla.edu).
Please email if you have any questions.

Household Modern Material Culture: Acquisition, Discard, and Identity

Chair and Organizer: ORLANDO, Angela (UCLA)

Stuff: why do we get it and keep it around, or alternately reject it? Why for some people does household clutter evoke feelings of comfort, while other families keep their homes sparsely decorated because objects impede their clarity? Is class membership reducible to the presence or absence of a snow globe collection over the mantle, to our framed opera tickets, or to our Lakers game memorabilia tacked to our faux wood-paneled bedroom walls? And if objects have semiotic characteristics, to whom do household objects communicate?

Our relationships to household material culture reflect our individual and familial identities, and objects have distinct meaning for the denizens of a house. This panel explores the connections between household material culture life histories (acquisition, maintenance and discard), and familial identity among contemporary people around the world. The aim is to generate both theoretical and methodological discussion about modern objects and peoples, and to explore why we cling to the things we keep, or throw away the objects that no longer fit our model of who we are. Papers in this session are geographically, theoretically and methodologically diverse, employing ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological approaches to modern material culture. Yet each operates on the premise that objects and humans participate in an active dialogue, which shapes and reshapes our intimate, and public, identities.  

Angela Orlando
University of California Los Angeles
angelamarie at ucla.edu

Short abstract of my paper for this session:
Decorative Material Culture in Middle-Class Los Angeles Houses
This paper examines the decorative objects in 32 middle-class Los Angeles houses and finds that most study participants do not purchase original art, but consume and display mass-produced prints and posters. Families’ school-age children are the primary producers of original art found in L.A. houses. How can we extrapolate observations such as these, in order to understand how household displays of art convey information about middle-class membership in urban North America?

Angela Orlando, M.A.
UCLA Anthropology Doctoral Student
Graduate Student Researcher - The Center on Everyday Lives of Families
University of California
318 Haines Hall
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1553
angelamarie at ucla.edu

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