Stuff: Anxieties and Aspirations of the Material World

February 8, 2019 (Friday) / 9:30 am6:00 pm

Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S 36th St

Stuff: Anxieties and Aspirations of the Material World


“Stuff: Anxieties and Aspirations of the Material World” asks us to reconsider our relationship with stuff - the materials and matter that surround us on a daily basis. Stuff speaks both to the promises and perils entangled in things. Through the lens of aspiration and anxiety, the program will reflect on the creation, use, preservation, discarding and collection of stuff across geographic and temporal contexts. In doing so, the symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to examine these themes and to probe the ethics, promise, and recalcitrance of human engagement with the material world.

A program of the Wolf Humanities Center's 2018-19 Forum on Stuff


10:00-10:30a | OPENING REMARKS
Christina Bush and Katherine Tycz (Wolf Humanities Center)

Chair: Hannah Anderson (Wolf Humanities Center)

  • Zara Anishanslin (University of Delaware)
    "Portrait of a Woman in Silk"
  • Sarah Scaturro (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
    “Full of Vice: The Anxieties and Aspirations of a Fashion Collection”

11:30a-12:30p | (RE)MAKING STUFF
Chair: Nicole Welk-Joerger (Wolf Humanities Center)

  • Sophia Roosth (Harvard University)
    “Mineral Autobiography"
  • Tianna Helena Uchacz (Columbia University)
    “Stuff in the Craft Workshop, Stuff in the Scientific Laboratory: the Evidence of Material Transformation and Knowledge Making”

Chair: Lauren Flood (Wolf Humanities Center)

  • Andrea Bohlman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    “The Flexidisc Cache”
  • Psyche Williams-Forson (University of Maryland)
    “Where did they Eat? Where did they Stay? The 'Stuff' of Black Women’s Domestic Work during the Colored Conventions”

3:00-3:30p | COFFEE BREAK

Moderator: Sarah Weicksel (Wolf Humanities Center)

  • Julie Nelson Davis (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Michelle Millar Fisher (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
  • Jacob Rivkin (Penn Program in Environmental Humanities)
  • Sarah Wasserman (University of Delaware)

4:45-5:00p | CLOSING REMARKS
Karen Redrobe (Director, Wolf Humanities Center, University of Pennsylvania)

5:00-6:00p | RECEPTION