You may also download the program by clicking here. Hope to see you there.
**Please note all events will take place in the Franke Institute for Humanities, 1100 E. 57th Street**

The Lives of Things

April 29-30, 2011

The Franke Institute for the Humanities, 1100 E 57th St.

Friday, April 29

1:00-1:15 p.m.
Introduction and Opening Remarks by Bill Brown | Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture English Language and Literature and Visual Arts, University of Chicago
Introduced by Amanda Davis | Graduate Student in English Language and Literature, University of Chicago
1:15-3:15 p.m. Panel 1: Object Circulation

Wendy Chun  | Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University

“Soft Wares, Soft Things”
Rosalind Morris | Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
“A Pound of Sugar, a Basket of Eggs, and the Spillage of Milk: Worldly Itineraries of Domestic Commodities (or, Recipe for a Personal History of the World, circa 1986/7, with reference to Henri Lefebvre and Gertrude Stein, via  Karl Marx and Mao Zedong)
Moderator: Patchen Markell | Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
3:15-3:30 p.mCoffee Break

3:30-5:30 p.m. Panel 2: Object Lives

Christy Anderson | Associate Professor of Art History, University of Toronto
“The Architectural Object: The Matter of Materials”
Harvey Molotch | Professor of Sociology and Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University
“Things of Public Trouble”
Moderator: Rebecca Zorach |  Associate Professor of Art History and the College,  University of Chicago
5:30-6:00 p.mReception

Saturday, April 30

9:00-9:15 a.m. Breakfast and Coffee9:30-10:45 a.m. Keynote Address Arjun Appadurai |  Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University“The Social Things of Life”

Introduced by  Dipesh Chakrabarty |  Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College, University of Chicago

10:45-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break

11:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. Panel 3: Object Agency

Christopher Breward |  Head of Research, Victoria & Albert Museum
“The Gritty Object—Things and Museum-based Research”
Didier Gondola |  Professor of History, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, School of Liberal Arts
“The Life of Cloth: Fashion, Performativity, and Materiality in Contemporary Africa”
Moderator: Judith Farquhar |  Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences,  University of Chicago
1:00-2:00 p.m. Light lunch

2:00-4:00 p.m. Panel 4: Object Politics

Lynn Meskell |  Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

“Dirty, Pretty Things: On Archaeology and Prehistoric Materialities”
Jonathan Lamb | Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Vanderbilt University
“Can circulating objects also be things?”
Moderator: Bradin Cormack | Director, Nicholson Center British Studies, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, and the College
4:00-4:15 p.mCoffee Break

4:15-5:30 p.m. Roundtable

A wine and cheese discussion led by OCP faculty:

 Leora Auslander |  Professor of European Social History, University of Chicago
Shannon Lee Dawdy |  Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College, University of Chicago
Christine Mehring |  Associate Professor of Art History and the College, University of Chicago
Jane Taylor Visiting Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago

Sponsored by 3CT, the Franke Institute, the Department of Anthropology Lichtstern Conference Fund, the Division of the Humanities, the Division of the Social Sciences, the Department of English Language and Literature, the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, the Smart Museum, and the Department of Art History.

Please see the conference blog for updated information:   For more information on the Object Cultures Project, please see  If you would like to be added to the Object Cultures Project mailing list, email

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  1. […] April 29th and 30th at the University of Chicago, “The Lives of Things” ; participants include Christy Anderson, Wendy Chun, Leora Auslander, and Christine […]

  2. […] HomeAbout UsContactFaculty SponsorsParticipants and Talk AbstractsSchedule […]

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