Stuff: Anxieties and Aspirations of the Material World

Institute of Contemporary Art
118 S 36th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Audrey Flack (American, b.1931), Queen, 1975; Dye transfer photograph. Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection. Gift of Seymour Passman.

“Stuff: Anxieties and Aspirations of the Material World” asks us to reconsider our relationship with stuff - the materials and matter that surround us on a daily basis. Stuff speaks both to the promises and perils entangled in things. Through the lens of aspiration and anxiety, the program will reflect on the creation, use, preservation, discarding and collection of stuff across geographic and temporal contexts. In doing so, the symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to examine these themes and to probe the ethics, promise, and recalcitrance of human engagement with the material world.

A program of the Wolf Humanities Center's 2018-19 Forum on Stuff


Symposium Schedule:

9:30-10:00a | Coffee

10:00-10:30a | Opening Remarks

10:30-11:30a | Panel 1

Zara Anishanslin, Assistant Professor of History and Art History, University of Delaware
Sarah Scaturro, Head Conservator, Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

11:30a-12:30p | Panel 2

Sophia Roosth, Frederick S. Danziger Associate Professor in the History of Science, Harvard University 
Tianna Uchacz, Postdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University

2:00-3:00p | Panel 3 

Andrea G. Bohlman, Assistant Professor of Music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Psyche Williams-Forson, Associate Professor and Chair of American Studies, University of Maryland

3:00-3:30p | Coffee Break

3:30-4:45p | Roundtable

Julie Nelson Davis, WHC Topic Director, Forum on Stuff; Professor of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

Michelle Millar Fisher, The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts and Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Jacob Rivkin, 2018 Artist-in-Residence, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities

Sarah Wasserman, WHC Regional Fellow, Forum on Stuff; Assistant Professor of English, University of Delaware

4:45-5:00p | Closing Remarks

Karen Redrobe, Director, Wolf Humanities Center; Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media; Chair of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

5:00-6:00p | Reception


Symposium organized by the Wolf Humanities Center's 2018-19 Graduate Research Assistant, Juliana Rowen Barton; Graduate Fellows, Hannah Anderson and Nicole Welk-Joerger; and Postdoctoral Fellows, Christina BushLauren FloodKatherine Tycz, and Sarah Weicksel.

Cosponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, History, History and Sociology of Science, History of Art, and Music; McNeil Center for Early American Studies; Penn Program in Environmental Humanities; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.