115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Material Cultures: Objects Transparent and Opaque

Session Chair: 
Imke Meyer, "University of Illinois, Chicago"
Session 5: Saturday 8:15 – 9:45 am
Eiben 207


  1. Ippokratis Kantzios, University of South Florida
    This paper discusses Hipponax’s (Greek poet, 6th century BCE) depiction of inanimate objects as having an agency of their own that alters or supersedes the characters' intentions. Nature and environment seem to have the upper hand at the expense of human volition in a way reminiscent of 19th-century literary Naturalism.
  2. Silke-Maria Weineck, University of Michigan
    In a famous anecdote, a visitor to Niels Bohr's office was surprised to see a horseshoe nailed to the wall. "Surely, you don't believe in this nonsense?" Bohr snaps: "I'm told it works even if you don't believe in it." This talk will investigate the material manifestations of superstitions and read them as attempts to ward off what I call "the irony monster," a potent and disembodied force whose inversions of meaning have terrified humans for thousands of years, leading to disparate strategies to combat it.
  3. Sarah George-Waterfield, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    In Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo, the rebozo takes on this complicated status as it moves through generations and across borders, becoming saturated with the memory of production and labor, the stuffness of the humans who interact with it, and the stories and histories that happen around it. 
  4. Gretchen Bartels, California Baptist University
    The American Girls books and dolls offer models of what Michel de Certeau describes as the tactics of the consumer fighting against the strategies of dominant culture, and they offer girls the means to define their own American girlhood by modeling moments of cultural resistance.
Session Cancelled: