CFP AAH 2016 Session – The (After) Lives of Things: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Material Culture

Posted on Updated on


Jane & Mary Parminter, bricolaged specimen table (comprising shells, polished marble, lapis lazuli, micromosaics, plaster casts, and a mourning plaque), 1790s, A la Ronde, Devon. (Photo author’s own)

CFP AAH 2016 Session – The (After) Lives of Things:

Deconstructing and Reconstructing Material Culture


Sarah Laurenson, University of Edinburgh, 

Freya Gowrley, University of Edinburgh,

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, bricolage & 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

We invite abstracts of no more than 250 words. Email paper proposals to the session convenors by 9 November 2015. Download a Paper Proposal Guidelines here.

– See more at:


May 6 – Announcements & Notices

Posted on Updated on


CONF: Representing the Hapsburg-Lorraine Dynasty, c. 1618-1918 (8-10 June, 2015) (via Enfilade)

CFP: The Role of Sculpture in Parisian Decorative Arts (Mon, 29 Aug 15)

CONF: Agency of Things (10th to 12th of June)National Museum of Warsaw

Article: Mark Carrigan, How to live tweet effectively at academic conferences

Journal: Brian Michael Norton, ‘The Spectator and Everyday Aesthetics,’ Lumen: Selected Proceedings from the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies / Lumen :  travaux choisis de la Société canadienne d’étude du dix-huitième siècle, vol. 34, 2015, p. 123-136. 

CONF: Stained Glass PhD Summer Symposium (York, 21-22 May 15)

CFP: The Far East: Collectors and Collections today (Lyon, 24-25 Mar 2016)

Circulating Enlightenment: The Negotiations of Eighteenth-Century Literary Culture in Britain

Posted on Updated on

In July I will be involved with the Circulating Enlightenment: The Negotiations of Eighteenth- Century Literary Culture in Britain conference, hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, and organised by Dr. Adam Budd.

For more information, see the poster below.


March 24, 2015 – Announcements & Notices

Posted on


Georgian townhouses, Circus Place, Edinburgh

CFPs, conferences, and articles that have recently caught my attention:

CFP: Printmaking in Scotland in the 18th Century (St Andrews, 4 Dec 15)

CONF: Materialities of American Texts and Visual Cultures (New York, 9-10 Apr 15)

CFP: Tourist guidebooks: where the vocabulary and the images of Cultural Heritage meet (Pisa)

CONF: Irishness? Changing Perspectives on Irish Identity, 1700-1914 (University of Edinburgh, 14th May 2015)

CFP: Animating the Georgian London Town House, 17 March 2016

Eighteenth-century country houses loom large in the British national consciousness. Yet, for every great country house from this period, there was usually also a town house. Wilton is much visited and discussed, but we know so much less about its counterpart in London: Pembroke House. Chatsworth has officially been recognised as one of the country’s favourite national treasures, but most of its visitors know little of Devonshire House, which the family once owned in the capital. In part, this is because town houses were often leased, rather than being passed down through generations as country estates were. But, most crucially, many London town houses, including both Pembroke House and Devonshire House, no longer exist, having been demolished in the early twentieth century.

            Following on from the ‘Animating the Eighteenth-Century Country House’ conference in March 2015, this related event will seek to resurrect the lost town houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, exploring the position they once occupied in the lives of families and the nation as a whole. Some – such as Spencer House – have survived; others have left fragmentary traces; others have been completely destroyed and can only be  recreated on the basis of inventories and descriptive accounts. There is much still to be uncovered about the collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts which these buildings once housed as well as about their furnishing, their architecture and gardens, and what refashioning occurred over time.

What was the significance of the town house for families such as the Devonshires and Pembrokes? How much time did they spend in London, relative to their sojourns in the country, and was one home considered more important? How did this vary between families? How did owners arrange their possessions between their houses? London town houses were often the setting for elite socialising, so is it the case that they would house their owners’ most impressive works of art? Was Joshua Reynolds right to bemoan in 1787, on learning that the Duke of Rutland was to keep Poussin’sSeven Sacraments at Belvoir Castle, that ‘the great works of art which this nation possesses are not (as in other nations) collected together in the capital, but dispersed about the country’? When and why were items moved between town and country, and are there discernable patterns over the period? Were London town houses opened to the public in the same way as country houses, and what did visitors say about what they encountered?

As well as mapping the relationship between the town house and the country house, this conference will also explore the geography of London: the location of these properties (especially within the West End), the most important estates (such as the Bedford or Grosvenor estates), and the reputations which various areas accrued. How did these houses position their owners in the complex social and political milieu of Georgian London, and what roles did they play in the lives and activities of those who owned, leased and inhabited them? How was this different for men and for women? And what was the significance of owning a town house freehold, leasehold – or just renting one for a season?

Proposals for contributions are welcomed from art historians and historians working on all aspects of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century town houses, including architecture, painting, sculpture, the decorative arts and garden history.

Abstracts for 25 minute conference papers should be no longer than 300 words in length, and should be accompanied by a short biography (of no more than 100 words) detailing any work or recent publications of particular relevance.

Please send abstracts and biographies by FRIDAY 8th MAY 2015 to

Ella Fleming at the Paul Mellon Centre:

March 10 – Announcements and Notices

Posted on Updated on


Maria Sibylla Merian, Plate 1 from Dissertation in Insect Generations and Metamorphosis in Surinam, 1719.

CFPs, conferences, and articles that recently caught my attention:

CFP: Aphra Behn Society Biannual Conference: Women in the Global Eighteenth Century

CFP: Theories of the Object in the Art of the Americas, A Session at SECAC, Pittsburg, October 21-24, 2015

CFP: ARTis ON issue 1: Decorative Arts

CFP: Illusionism and Interference in Early Modern Sculpture, (Vancouver 22-25 Oct 15)

CFP: The Skin of Objects: Rethinking Surfaces in Visual Culture (Norwich, 27 Jun 15)

CFP: Object Lessons, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK, October 3, 2015

CONF: The Housing Question: Nomad Seminar in Historiography (San Diego, 12-3 Mar 15)

February 24 – Announcements & Notices

Posted on Updated on

CFPs, seminar announcements, and articles that caught my attention this week:


The Picture Gallery, Longford Castle © The Earl of Radnor, Longford Castle

Conference – Animating the 18th-century Country House

Conference: Surfaces (15th-19th Centuries) (New York, 27 Mar 15)

CFP – ‘Objects in Motion: Material Culture in Transition‘, CRAASH, University of Cambridge:

CFP – Remembering and Forgetting: Cultural Memory Across Disciplines, University of Stirling, 30 May, 2015

CFP: Satire and Caricature as Mediators of Cultural Trauma (Pittsburgh, 21-24 Oct 15)

Seminar – Queen Mary Eighteenth-Century Studies Seminar 2014-2015, Wednesday 11 March 2015, 5.15 pm, ‘Exhibiting the Eighteenth Century’, Joanna Marschner (Historic Royal Palaces), Moira Goff (The Garrick Club), Alex Werner (Museum of London)

February 7, 2015 – Announcements & Notices

Posted on Updated on

CFPs, seminars, and articles that caught my attention this week:


George Stubbs, The Kongouro from New Holland, 1772. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

Conference: Exotic Anatomies: Stubbs, Banks & Cultures of Natural History (London, 9 Mar 15) 

CFP – Beyond the Coffee House: Masculinities and Social Spaces in the Long Eighteenth Century

CFP – Matter and Materiality in the Early Modern World, 12 June 2015, University of Cambridge:

Paper – ‘Entangled Objects? The Material Culture of Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Habsburg–Ottoman Diplomacy (1527–1648)‘ Wednesday 18th February 2015, Bateman Auditorium, Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, 5-6pm

Seminar – CRAASH Things That Matter, 1400-1900 Seminar Series: ‘Drinking Things‘, 11 February, 12:00-14:00, University of Cambridge:

Article – Faramerz Dabhoiwala on ‘The Secret History of Same-Sex Marriage‘

Article – ‘Teach or Perish‘  The Chronicle of Higher Education: