The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware helps integrate and enhance the University’s rich resources for the creation, study and conservation of material culture. Its scope is broad and embraces all the things people make and all the ways those things, in turn, inhabit and act upon the physical world. To realize these goals the Center sponsors teaching and research in material culture studies at the undergraduate, graduate and faculty levels with grant programs, course support, workshops and conferences, such as the by-now venerable Emerging Scholars Conference. Fulfilling a core mandate to foster public understanding of material culture in our own community and beyond, the Center partners with institutions both local and international, such as the University’s own Special Collections, the nearby Hagley Museum and Library, and the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, in Germany. Upcoming collaborations include two symposia: “The Refuge of Objects/ Objects of Refuge” (December, 2016) and “Imagined Forms: Models and Material Culture” (November, 2017).
The Center is committed to outreach and collaboration and enjoys the support of faculty from a spectrum of departments, programs and research centers across the University. These include: Anthropology, Art, Art Conservation, Art History, Center for Historic Architecture and Design, Black American Studies, English, Fashion and Apparel Studies, Hagley Program in Capitalism, Technology, and Culture, History, Geography, Museum Studies, PhD Program in the History of American Civilization, Sociology, University of Delaware Library, University Museums, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Women and Gender Studies, and Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. Many faculty are also affiliated with other mid-Atlantic cultural institutions such as the Delaware Art Museum, the Hagley Museum and Library, and the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate.
The current directors of the Center are Professors Sandy Isenstadt, Department of Art History and Martin Brückner, Department of English. Learn more about them here.