Academic Session 29: Warwick 2011

AAH Annual Conference 2011
31 March – 2 April, University of Warwick

Craft, History, Theory

Session Convenor:

Janice Helland, Queen’s University, Canada.

This session proposes an integrative examination of craft history and craft theory with a particular emphasis upon the impact material culture studies has had upon the
discipline. In 1999, Judy Attfield suggested that ‘hybridity’ is one of the ‘most remarkable characteristics of material culture studies’ (Journal of Design History, 12, 4: 373); in 2009, Paul Greenhalgh lamented the ‘absence of historical writing’ in discussions of craft (Journal of Design History, 22, 4:402); and also recently, Tom Crook posited a collapse of the dichotomies of modern and antimodern in craft studies suggesting instead an ‘alternative modernity’ distinguished by a ‘multiplicity of ‘dialogs’ between past, present and future’ (Journal of Modern Craft, 2,1, 2009: 17). Thus, while maintaining a concern for production and consumption, papers in the session will also consider intersectionalities, meaning, and social relationships between object and bodies, while retaining a focus upon craft history. How do objects relate to each other and/or to the bodies that create and use them particularly when informed by gender, sexualities, class and race? How does materiality make meaning? What relationships accrue between objects and social practices? How have theories of transculturation affected discussions of craft history and practice?

Speakers & Papers

Alena Buis (Queen’s University Canada)
Crafting Home: The colonial homemaker in early modern Dutch trade networks

Juliette MacDonald (Edinburgh College of Art)
Craft and the City: An exploration of craft’s role in contemporary urban society

Alyson Wharton (SOAS, University of London)
Armenian Master-Builders and Image-Making in mid-19th Century Istanbul

Susan Surette (Concordia University, Montreal)
Working Craft: Victor Cicansky’s The Old Working Class and The New Working Class

Rosie Ibbotson (Cambridge University)
Men’s accessories: crafts and fraternalism in the English Arts and Crafts Movement

Joseph McBrinn (University of Ulster)
Queer Things: Craft and Sexuality