Narrating the Material Turn

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In 2004, Lorraine Daston  invited readers  to “imagine a world without things.” Even as a conceptual exercise, the experiment proved impossible, underscoring the importance of the material after years of scholarly preoccupation with discourse, representation, and the textual. Daston’s volume and many others went on to develop case studies and theories that brought the material to the fore, articulating a new imperative for scholarly practice and recruiting underexamined materialities to diagnose and displace persistent habits in Western thinking.  Nearly two decades after this “material turn” it is now difficult to imagine a world unattuned to the role of objects and materials in the formation of knowledge and the unfolding of daily life. However, this intellectual shift is largely without a historiography and continues to be characterized by a diversity of methods and concerns.  Primary Materials  revisits the motivations and impacts of this reorientation of our collective attention, but also looks forward to examine new possibilities for interdisciplinary dialogue and emergent concerns within the study of the material, from the digital to the environmental.  The forum grew out of our own conversations while fellows at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. A mix of anthropologists, art historians, historians of science, and legal historians ourselves, we set out to create a venue to mirror the interdisciplinary exchange and conceptual and methodological openness we found in our own discussions. Through conversations with scholars and practitioners, we plan to feature new empirical cases, theoretical interests, and methods for research, pedagogy, and public engagement.  For our first issue, we invited a group of thinkers from anthropology, the history of science, media studies, and political science to consider the place of materiality and material culture in their own work. Our conversations touched on glass flowers, digital teapots, design studios, and the variable materiality of carbon resources. In its topical and disciplinary diversity, this opening volume reflects an ecumenical approach that we intend to maintain as we speak with a range of scholars and practitioners about their engagements with the material.   Enjoy reading and please share your thoughts as we prepare future volumes. Sign up for our mailing list below for news of future publications (no spam, we promise!), follow us on  Twitter , or email us at  prmmtls@gmail.com .    The Editors  Tina Asmussen, Marius Buning, Robert J. Kett and Jaya Remond  Published: 9-25-2017        

 
   
     
       SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES 
        
     

     

       

        

        

          
             
               Email Address 
               
             
          

        

          

        

       

       
            Sign Up    
       

     

    
        
    

     Thank you!

In 2004, Lorraine Daston invited readers to “imagine a world without things.” Even as a conceptual exercise, the experiment proved impossible, underscoring the importance of the material after years of scholarly preoccupation with discourse, representation, and the textual. Daston’s volume and many others went on to develop case studies and theories that brought the material to the fore, articulating a new imperative for scholarly practice and recruiting underexamined materialities to diagnose and displace persistent habits in Western thinking.

Nearly two decades after this “material turn” it is now difficult to imagine a world unattuned to the role of objects and materials in the formation of knowledge and the unfolding of daily life. However, this intellectual shift is largely without a historiography and continues to be characterized by a diversity of methods and concerns. Primary Materials revisits the motivations and impacts of this reorientation of our collective attention, but also looks forward to examine new possibilities for interdisciplinary dialogue and emergent concerns within the study of the material, from the digital to the environmental.

The forum grew out of our own conversations while fellows at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. A mix of anthropologists, art historians, historians of science, and legal historians ourselves, we set out to create a venue to mirror the interdisciplinary exchange and conceptual and methodological openness we found in our own discussions. Through conversations with scholars and practitioners, we plan to feature new empirical cases, theoretical interests, and methods for research, pedagogy, and public engagement.

For our first issue, we invited a group of thinkers from anthropology, the history of science, media studies, and political science to consider the place of materiality and material culture in their own work. Our conversations touched on glass flowers, digital teapots, design studios, and the variable materiality of carbon resources. In its topical and disciplinary diversity, this opening volume reflects an ecumenical approach that we intend to maintain as we speak with a range of scholars and practitioners about their engagements with the material. 

Enjoy reading and please share your thoughts as we prepare future volumes. Sign up for our mailing list below for news of future publications (no spam, we promise!), follow us on Twitter, or email us at prmmtls@gmail.com

The Editors
Tina Asmussen, Marius Buning, Robert J. Kett and Jaya Remond

Published: 9-25-2017

 

sfma14.25.711_173512.jpg

Utah_teapot_simple_2.png