Feeling Fragmentary: A Graduate Student Material Culture Symposium

This event has passed.

Virtual Event
@ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Feeling Fragmentary: A Graduate Student Material Culture Symposium
Friday, May 14, 2021
9:30AM-5:00PM CST


The isolation of the past year as a result of COVID-19 safety measures has left many of us feeling as though parts of ourselves are missing with fewer connections to the wider world. In many ways, we are feeling fragmentary. Yet, fragments in their material form are often sculptural and present critically important clues for scholars of all kinds. Taking its cue from these evocative items, “Feeling Fragmentary” is a symposium that aims to build community across the UW campus via short presentations that not only point toward speakers’ larger research practice, but together through assemblage form a new kind of “whole.”

Presentations will address subjects that deal directly with human relationships to the past and to the environment, objects and artworks as records of larger ephemeral systems, and the process of making as an imaginative and healing process.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Material Culture Focus Group invites you to attend a day long symposium on Friday, May 14th, 2021. This is an event by and for graduate students at UW–Madison with the goal of connecting individuals with mutual interest in Material Culture. It is organized through the Center for Design and Material Culture and the Design Studies department at the School of Human Ecology.


Morning Session: (9:30AM-12:00PM CST) Pre-Registration Required

Session will take place on Zoom. After registering at the link above, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • What Makes Plants ‘Edible’?
    Tabitha Faber, she/her
  • What’s in the Kitchen? A material history of Swedish-American Kitchens through cookbooks
    Svea Larson, she/her
  • George Washington’s Shopping List: Humanizing History through Digitizing a Colonial-Virginia Mercantile Ledger
    Jared L. Schmidt, he/him
  • Second Childhood
    Kayla Bauer, she/her

[15 minute break]

  • Mycorrhizal Fungi and Habitat Fragmentation
    Yishai Barak, he/him
  • Weaving Ho-Chunk perseverance: Negotiating black ash basketry and ancestral homeland, with science and technology
    Molli A. Pauliot, she/her
  • The Function of Darning: How an Invisible Art Embodies Knowledge
    Addison Nace, she/her

1 hour lunch break

Afternoon Session: (1:00PM-3:30PM CST) Pre-Registration Required

Session will take place on Zoom. After registering at the link above, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • Assessing the Missing Evidence: the Roman two-beam upright loom
    Morgan Lemmer-Webber, she/her
  • Cassils’ Clay Bash: Fragment as Artist’s Method and Audience Member’s Embodiment
    Becca Owen, they/them
  • Fragment with Birds, Dragons, and Palmette Motifs: A Reflection of the Global Mediterranean
    Tania Kolarik, she/her

[15 minute break]

  • Dressing Dance and Deviance in Metropolis
    Elise Kerns, she/her
  • Flannel Futures: exploring queer futurist potentials through textiles and printmaking
    Nora Renick Rinehart, she/her
  • Introspection with Fiber
    KT Simmons-Uvin, they/them

Social Hour: (3:45pm – 4:45pm CST) Open Forum

Open forum for feedback, networking, and discussion about the future of the material culture focus group. Please feel free to come armed with a beverage of your choice to toast your own hard work and that of your colleagues. Join via link above.

Fragment of a blue and white textile showing weave patterns and holes.
Coverlet Fragment, ca. 1740-1839, Cotton, wool, 89×30 cm, HLATC Object #W.L.US.1548, Gift from the Estate of Professor Helen Louise Allen.

Event Format

The day will be organized around concise and focused presentations which either explore one object/material/process or an aspect of methodology related to material culture studies that speaks to the presenters’ core interests and approaches. Each presentation will be 5-7 minutes long followed by a 10-minute seminar-style discussion.

The day-long symposium will take place virtually via Zoom. Two sessions will reflect the diversity of disciplines at the University.

An additional unstructured hour at the end of the day after presentations will conclude the symposium to facilitate socialization and/or feedback. One goal of this time will be to define future avenues and directions for the Material Culture Focus Group and how it can best serve students on campus.

Correspondence and questions should be sent to symposium co-chairs Natalie Wright (newright3@wisc.edu) and Maeve M. Hogan (mmhogan3@wisc.edu).

Featured Image: Salt fragment (possibly), ca. 1675-1700, Delftware, 1 1/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 in. (3 x 4 x 4 cm), Ex. Noël Hume Collection, The Chipstone Foundation, 2019.58.

Photograph of a fragment of a ceramic delftware salt with blue and white glaze.