“Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture” November, 2017

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Center for Material Culture Studies, University of Delaware, and the Hagley Museum and Library, Delaware
contact email: 

CALL FOR PAPERS (deadline February 15, 2017)

 The Center for Material Culture Studies (CMCS) at the University of Delaware invites proposals for its first biannual conference, “Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture.”

Confirmed keynote speakers are Johanna Drucker, UCLA, and Peter Galison, Harvard University.

The symposium will take place November 17-18, 2017, and is hosted by the Center for Material Culture Studies, University of Delaware, and the Hagley Museum and Library, Delaware. Accepted speakers will be provided with two nights lodging nearby. 

Please send abstracts of max. 300 words, with a brief CV of no more than two pages, by February 15, 2017 to materialculture@udel.edu

As testimony, test, or proposal, models of all sorts record, revise, and reinvent the world.  From toy miniatures to computer simulations, modeling is a primary means by which we make sense of and act upon our material lives, the lives of others and the culture at large.  Everyone models: from artists and designers to prototype machinists and engineers to children.  Models may be provisional or idealized—rehearsals of things yet to be or representations of those that already exist—professional or slapdash, sustained or ephemeral.  In particular, models, whether prospective or mimetic, have long animated disciplines and discourses that center on knowledge formation and innovation.  Models can represent existing conventions or visionary inventions; in both cases models are scalar constructions with the potential for affective, aesthetic, conceptual, and technological effects. Inspired by the Hagley Museum’s extensive collection of patent models—nearly 900 items made between 1809 and 1899—this interdisciplinary conference seeks to highlight modeling as both a fundamental human activity and an inevitably material practice.

“Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture” inaugurates a biennial conference series sponsored by the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware. We invite submissions from all disciplines—including art and architecture, art history, comparative literature, digital humanities, English, history, history of science, and media studies—that critically investigate the function and form of models, the materials and methods of simulation and representation, questions of scale and perception, experiment and presentation, and the limits of modeling.

For information see http://www.materialculture.udel.edu/.


Organized by Professors Sandy Isenstadt (Co-Director CMCS), Martin Brückner (Co-Director CMCS), Jason Hill (Art History), and Sarah Wasserman (English).