CMCS Meeting Minutes Archive

Throughout each academic year,  the Center holds meetings with CMCS affiliated faculty to discuss upcoming events, relevant announcements, and more. The minutes to these meetings can be viewed here in PDF form or transcribed below.

CMCS Faculty Meeting, September 2017
CMCS Faculty Meeting, February 2017
CMCS Faculty Meeting, November 2016
CMCS Faculty Meeting, September 2016

Center for Material Culture Studies
Meeting Agenda & Minutes

September 20, 2017
211 Old College 12:10-1 pm

In attendance: Ames, Alex (Hist/CMCS Grad Work Grp); Bellion, Wendy (Art Hist), Bowler, Anne (Sociology); Brückner, Martin (Engl/ CMCS); Dominguez Torres, Monica (Art Hist); Erickson, Jesse (UD Library); Helton, Laura (Engl); Hess Norris, Debra (Art Cons); Isenstadt, Sandy (Art Hist/ CMCS); McCormick, Monica (UD Library); Schmidt, Laura (WPAMC/CMCS); Petersen, Lauren (CAS); Samuels Lasner, Mark (UD Library); Stetz, Margaret (Woman Studies); Venturi, Jessica (CMCS Grad); Zehnder, Amanda (UD Mus); Rye-Kopec, Ashley (UD Mus)

  1. Greetings and Introduction of new people (5 min)
  1. Introducing the NEW Graduate Working Group (5 min)
  • Graduate students Alex Ames and Michelle Everidge (Art History) co-chair the NEW working group, “OBJECT FIGHT CLUB: Methods in Material Culture Graduate Student Working Group.” Dr. Sarah Wasserman (English) is currently serving as their faculty sponsor.
  • The working group is an interdisciplinary space created by graduate students, for graduate students aimed at providing opportunities for hands-on training and work with objects. The group is currently averaging approximately 19 students per meeting, and has already hosted several object-study field trips throughout the summer.
  • For more information regarding upcoming Fall semester activities, meetings, and field trips visit:
  • Object Fight Club would like to encourage graduate faculty to spread the word about the working group to interested students across the humanities.
  1. CMCS Report of 2016-2017 activities, including Delphi 2017 (5 min)
  • The Class of 2017 marked Delaware Public Humanities Institute’s (DELPHI) 10th Anniversary at University of Delaware.
    • This summer, 14 graduate students from across the humanities participated in 2 weeks of all-day workshops, trainings, activities, and special guest speakers.
    • DELPHI is currently working to expand its support of graduate students by providing formal advising/mentorships throughout the academic year that follows the Institute.
    • There will be a DELPHI reunion/meeting for the Class of 2017 on November 29th from 6-8pm (Location TBD). Graduate students who may be interested in participating in DELPHI in the future are encouraged to attend.
  • Emerging Scholars and CMCS have decided to stagger symposiums so that each takes place in alternating years.
  • CMCS is proud to announce it provided over $40,000 in funding to graduate student and faculty in 2016-17 for projects in material culture studies.
    • This year, we have added additional funding available to serve undergraduates including field trips and summer research.
    • Applications are currently being accepted for our October 15th deadline: Faculty are encouraged to spread the word to your students and colleagues.
  1. Upcoming CMCS events (5 min)
  • Oct 15, 2017
  • Nov 17-18, 2017
    • First Biannual CMCS Conference “Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture (
    • Registration is required – Reserve your space via the today!
  • November 29, 2017, 6-8pm
    • DELPHI 2017 reunion and information meeting for DELPHI 2018
  • April 27-28, 2018
    • 15th Emerging Scholars Symposium:
    • “Hazardous Objects: Function, Materiality, and Context”
  1. Fugitive Archives – edited volume; result of CMCS-U Mainz symposium (5 min)
  • CMCS is working with UD Press to publish an edited volume that will feature presentations from the 2016 CMCS-U Mainz Symposium.
  • The volume will contain a set of scholarly essays from graduate students, a set of speculative think pieces, a set of picture essays, and a set of inset pieces with short essays accompanied by images.
  • The volume will be available online and in print, with beautiful color images throughout.
  • CMCS hopes to make this publication an on-going tradition, every-other year, to offer a real, serious snap-shop of the material culture research at UD.
  1. ThingStor update – prototype database: (5 min)
  • Prototype is ready for ThingStor: A Material Culture Database for Finding Objects in Literature and Visual Art (
  • ThingStor will become an interactive material culture digital database for research and teaching that at once collects and curates the correlation between objects and their representations in works of literature and the visual arts.
  • ThingStor Working Group will have its first meeting on Wednesday, September 27th at 6pm.
  1. Discussion: Creation of a “general” MCS certificate?
  • CMCS would like to propose the creation of a Material Culture Studies Certificate program that would offer graduate students across disciplines the opportunity to show proof of specialization in this sub-field.
  • The motivation for this Certificate lies in the fact that many students in fields like English, do not currently have a certificate option to show their highly specialized knowledge of Material Culture Theory and Practice. The proposed certificate would not compete with similar certificates, but would be an add-on designed to give recognition to those who take substantial coursework in material culture studies across the humanities.
  • In the open forum discussion on this topic, the following questions and suggestions were raised:
    • This Certificate could create an opportunity for more incorporation of field training/experience, as well as work to foster more partnerships with organizations throughout the community
    • What is the value of a certificate like this for the community?
      • For Masters and Doctoral students, this will help distinguish them on the humanities job market
      • For Doctoral students, this certificate would demonstrate to other Universities that the student is on the “crest of the wave” of an innovative and growing sub-field
    • Is there a way to work in collaboration with the Winterthur and Museum Studies programs so as not to compete with their programs?
    • How will the certificate work around the current departmental rules regarding limits to courses taken outside of a particular department?
      • One solution may be to have more courses cross-listed
    • A program like this would need to have “very low walls” in which graduate students are allowed across the humanities to take at least 2 courses outside of the department, certain courses in each department would need to be flagged as counting toward this specialization.
    • Program would need to include certain “benchmarks” such as an intro theory course, and a practicum.
    • Museum Studies (in History Dept.) doesn’t quite cover every means of thinking in material culture (ex: no space for ephemera) – this certificate is an opportunity to make material culture more inclusive (especially of Theory).
    • CMCS wants to continue this as an ongoing discussion over the next few months. Suggestions, questions, and concerns from interested parties are all welcome.

Center for Material Culture Studies
Meeting Agenda
February 22, 2017
211 Old College 9-10AM

In attendance: S. Isenstadt, M. Brückner, D. Hess Norris, L. Nees, Ch. Reedy, M. Stetz, J. Yates, K. Grier, M. S. Lasner, J. Van Horn, L. Winn, J. Hill, J. Tomlinson, W. Bellion, A. Mohun, T. Guiler, J. Erickson, C. Dann Roeber, J. Horton

  1. Greetings, Introductions, New Faculty
  1. Reports & Updates: Newly added grant opportunities (for older grants, see website)
  • Unidel “top-off” grants for Graduate Student recruitment in MCS
  • CMCS Graduate Workshop/Archive funds (in addition to Research,Travel, Publication): results to be announced in mid April
  • CMCS/Undergraduate Research Fellow Program, under the auspices of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning
  • Next Deadlines for Grad awards:
    • 3/17 (Research Presentation; Research Publication; Finkel; Friends of Rockwood)
    • 4/15 (Research Travel)
  • Biennial conference series: “Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture,” November 17-18, 2017 (75 submissions)
  • DELPHI 2017 (currently 22 applicants)
  • CMCS/U Mainz: new opportunities (summer workshop @ Obama Institute; visiting Junior Profs in the Humanities)
  • CMCS & publishing arm (edited vol. Objects of Refuge; online journal w/ UD Press)
    • joint meeting is scheduled for March 14
  • ThingStor joined by Comp Sci and UD Library Digital Initiatives
    • 2nd meeting scheduled for 3/1 with CMCS, CompSci, and DigLibrary present
  • 2018: Emerging Scholars (Center is seeking graduate student nominations?)
  • 2019: 2nd Biennial CMCS Symposium, open to collaborators & ideas …
  1. CMCS GA-line (Center is seeking nominations)
  2. Working Groups: updates
  • Theory/Method (Julian Yates; Media Old & New (Jason Hill); Esa Eja (Monica Dominguez); Afr Am MC (Julie McGee)

New Business:
Winterthur Research Award opportunities (Catharine Dann Roeber)
Special Collections/Museum Exhibitions (Janis Tomlinson)
announce CAS/ IHRC/ Spec Coll to host Fo Williams (Julie McGee

CMCS: please submit ALL event and calendar sensitive announcements to our Center email:

Center for Material Culture Studies
Meeting Agenda
November 9, 2016
211 Old College 5-6 pm

 In attendance: S. Isenstadt, M. Brückner, W. Bellion, C. Grier, M. S. Lasner, M. Stetz, L. Nees, C. Ott, Sarah Wasserman, J. Erickson

Introduction of new faculty

  • Cindy, Sarah, and Jesse briefly introduced their research projects

Reports & Updates

  • Review of recently launched grant opportunities for Graduate students, including the: CMCS Graduate Research Travel Fund, CMCS Graduate Research Presentation Fund, CMCS Graduate Research Publication Subvention Fund, CMCS Faculty Research Publication Subvention Fund, Finkel Fund, Friends of Rockwood Fund
  • NEW: CMCS Field Trip Support up to $500 for a total of four awards
  • Joint CMCS – Universität Mainz Symposium, “The Refuge of Objects” (December 14-18, 2016). Program is now posted at our website
  • Biennial conference series, “Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture,” November 17-18, 2017. We already received several early submissions. Keynote speaker Peter Galison will also be invited to speak in the Provost’s Thought Leader series.
  • 2018 Emerging Scholars. We will convene the conference organization team in Spring 2017 with the goal that students will have more time to plan
  • Call for topic ideas for our 2nd Biennial CMCS Symposium. We are open to ideas …
  • Faculty profiles on CMCS website: we encourage MCS faculty to share information about their recent publications. We are eager to post a pic and a blurb.

The following items are proposals for NEW initiatives:

Proposal: CMCS Undergraduate Research Fellow Programs

  • the Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning has offered the Center the opportunity to support 1-2 fellows who wish to work on MC related projects
  • we ask faculty to spread the word and help identify interested students

Proposal: Working Group in African American Material Culture Studies

  • after consultation with Julie McGee and BAMS, we are seeking to launch a new Working Group focusing on Afr Am MCS
  • after a short discussion, Jesse Erickson volunteered to serve as convener

Proposal: ThingStor data collection across curriculum in Spring 2017

  • Martin reported that all elements necessary for collecting and archiving data for a pilot database called “American Literary Things” are now complete. With the aid of a manual developed by Martin and the CMCS-GA Eileen Moscoso, filling out the data form takes about 60 minutes. Data-intake forms are provisionally hosted by Google Forms and stored in Google Excel until we can hire a programmer who will help us build ThingStor as a searchable and interdisciplinary database.
  • Seeking to raise data entries quickly, we are now looking for faculty volunteers who would be interested in using the database project as part of a class assignment. Please contact Martin for more information

Proposal: develop a CMCS publication branch

  • In order to raise our profile, CMCS is seeking to launch a publication branch; this proposal prompted lively discussion and many suggestions: eg.
  • (Margaret) with UD Press in transition, the Center could become involved in digital and/or printed projects, perhaps be in charge of a book series?
  • (Kasey) in lieu of starting its own journal, could the Center be involved with Winterthur Portfolio?
  • (Sarah) Stanford’s ARCADE Colloquies project might provide a model for individual members of CMCS to curate critical work by theme or discipline using brief introductions and taking advantage of material already published by faculty in other venues
  • (Wendy) what about MCS podcasts or mini interviews in which CMCS faculty explain an object, a concept, etc?

Proposal: commission MCS online blurbs: one thing, one discipline, one concept, to create content on the CMCS website

Other & Miscellany

  • CMCS is now building a DELPHI alumni database in order to record their projects and track their professional development
  • CMCS is also building a database recording the recipients and outcomes of our current graduate awards

Center for Material Culture Studies
 Meeting Agenda
September 13, 2016
211 Old College / 4:00-5:00PM 

In attendance: Mohun, W. Bellion, C. Grier, L. DeCunzo, L. Winn, R. Garrison, Th. Guiler, M. Samuel Lasner, M. Stetz, J. Yates, C. Dann Roeber, J. Horton, L. Nees, J. Hill, J. McGee, M. Dominguez Torres, C. Ott, Z. Anishanslin, A. Ardis, J. Tomlinson, S. Isenstadt

CMCS website and communication

  •  to contact our CMCS team to circulate announcements, queries, etc, we now have the following email address:
  • group emails will continue to be sent via Outlook
  •  we invite updates of your faculty profile
  •  we invite more samples for our “featured publication” display
  • we invite your contribution/ suggestions/ and collaboration for refining and expanding our web content/
  • please note: you can subscribe to receive website updates (see button on home page, bottom lower right)

Report on old and new grant opportunities (incl. DELPHI and Friends of Rockwood)

  • DELPHI 2016 took place in mid June: Arwen Mohun and Erik Rau led one last time a group of 14 selected awardees participants; a big thanks go to Arwen and Erik for hosting DELPHI with great success and panache over the past 5 years!
  • the current CMCS budget allows for a new slate of graduate student awards, including one faculty awar
    Up to $1,500 each for up to 6 graduate students pursuing research or fieldwork in material culture studies
    Application Deadline: November 15, 2016, and April 15, 2017
    Up to $1,000 each for up to 8 students to support graduate students presenting original research at a public venue
    Application Deadline: October 14, 2016, and March 17, 2017
    Up to $500 each for up to 4 students to support graduate student publications
    Application Deadline: October 14, 2016, and March 17, 2017
    Up to $1,800 per award to subvent faculty publications
    Application Deadline: October 1, 2016, and March 1, 2017
    Up to $3,000 to support undergraduate or graduate students accepted for a material culture related internship in Summer, 2017
    Application Deadline: March 17, 2017
    Up to $1,500 to support a graduate student researching Victorian-era material culture
    Application Deadline: March 17, 2017

To facilitate these awards CMCS will rely on separate selection committees, each consisting of 2 CAS faculty members and the 2 co-directors: volunteer committee members are Anette Giesecke, Kasey Grier, Catharine Dann Roeber, and Ritchie Garrison.

Update on joint CMCS – Universität Mainz Symposium, December 15-17, 2016

  •  the UD delegation will be sponsored by German funds provided by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungs Gesellschaft; the state of Rheinland Pfalz; and U Mainz); currently, we are standing to receive $27,000 as a one-time “in-kind” contribution to the Center; the funds are intended to cover travel expenses for all all participants.
  • the final conference program will be posted in October

New biennial conference initiative: “Imagined Forms: Modeling and Material Culture,”November 17-18, 2017

  • last spring, we implemented a structural shift to relieve our MCS graduate students who have been running the Emerging Scholars Symposium on an annual basis for 13 straight years. Starting with this year, the symposium will become a biennial event. The 14th ES conference is now scheduled for April 2018.
  • to fill the gap and to raise the Center’s national profile, the Center will launch its own biennial conference series intended to focus on select topics.
  • the Center’s first inaugural conference will be in collaboration with the Hagley Museum which now owns 900 patent models
  • confirmed keynote speakers are media scholar Johanna Drucker and physicist Peter Galison
  • the conference committee currently consists of Sandy Isenstadt, Sarah Wasserman., Jason Hill, and Martin Brückner
  • for further information, please see the CFP at

Overview of current “Working Groups”

  •  Media Old and New; this group is hosting its first guest speaker at a special workshop on Sept 14 at 5:30 in R 107 in Memorial Hal: “China Girls and Film Materiality: A Workshop with Genevieve Yue.” Conveners: Sarah Wasserman and Jason Hill
  • Theory and Pedagogy: this group plans reading meetings that concentrate on the work of Tim Ingold. Convener: Julian Yates
  • Space and Place: Convener: Sandy Isenstadt
  • Ese’Eja: this group will launch its exhibition on October 11; for more information see Conveners: Monica Dominguez Torres and John Cox.

Update on “ThingStor: A Material Culture Database”

  • as of this summer, the ThingStor project has a fully vetted data intake form and attending google form data base with the goal to develop a data archive (with input from Special Collections: big thanks to Rebecca Melvin Johnson and Jaime Margalotti)
  • the data intake form will be tested Engl 347 as part of the course assignments; this class explores Object Narratives and literary references to things through the lens of “things that speak”
  • CMCS is currently interviewing prospective graduate-level programmers from UD’s Computer Science program interested in designing ThingStor as a searchable website as a database linking word, image, and metadata provided by national archives.

Other & Miscellany (open forum)

  • upon asking how to proceed with MCS in relation to UG studies, the following questions or points were brought up:
  • could CMCS provide funding for UG research and recruitment?
  • could the 2017 CMCS conference be tied to UG courses, such as Zara A.’s proposed Honors colloquium on the history of science and technology in early America, or Arwen M.’s suggestion to link up classes with 3-D printers/designers?
  • more generally, the desire was expressed to find new paths that would attract STEM students to CAS classes
  • in the context of UG studies, Lu Ann D. announced her introduction to MCS class on the subject of 50 objects representing UD as a prototype for jumpstarting MCS in the UG curriculum
  • also in the context of UG studies, Wendy B. proposed interdisciplinary seminars for UG that would involve travel to local collections
  • Janis T. and Ann A. announced a new faculty support initiative that would link three different funding streams, including IHRC, the Paul Jones Collection, and Special Collections.
  • CMCS restated its desire to establish post-doc lines in MCS, such as by tapping CLIR postdoctoral fellowships
  • Julie McGee called attention to the opportunity that CMCS and MCS faculty will soon be able to work with other colleagues in the area of African American material culture studies