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Summer School: Lost in Things?

When:Mo 20-06-2016
Where:University of Groningen

20 - 24 June 2016
Deadline for application: 1 May 2016
Prof. Mineke Bosch
Prof. Raingard Esser
€ 250 (excluding housing)

In his recent article "Lost in Things", Hans Peter Hahn cautions against an overestimation of material culture as providing stable, defining markers for cultural habits and the social order in past and present societies. Instead, he invites his readers to consider the increasing and decreasing value of objects ascribed by both individuals and groups.

The third edition of our summer school, Things that Matter 3, responds to this proposal by studying the instabilities (also) inherent in material objects and their changing uses and usability in the past.

The methodological and theoretical approaches of the summer school are that of juxtaposition, dichotomy and temporality. We will discuss the relationship and the nature of objects of attention and objects of neglect, or everyday use. We will also discuss the importance of the mundane. In addition, we will analyse the relationship between so-called secular and sacred relics. The recent interest in "Secondhandedness" and recycling as the second life of textiles and other household items will also be addressed.

Lastly, we will look at the changing role of ruins and architectural remains from neglected site to monument of commemoration and discuss the role of objects in Public History. How does society approach the legacy of 'things' in museums and heritage institutions? Which objects are "worth keeping" and when? Who determines the selection process and what are selection criteria for curators, archivists and other agents in the sector?

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