People and Things on the Move

Free and open to the public. 

Thursday, May 14 - Saturday, May 16

Regenstein Library, Room 122
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Every migrant decides what things are essential to making a new life and what can be left behind. The two dozen scholars, from four continents and five disciplines who came together for this workshop explored how the experience of migration changes, and is changed by, the things that people bring with them and those they jettison. Five themes emerged as key: Migration’s transformation of the Fabric of Everyday life; The Material Culture of Religious practice; Home-making in Motion; The Use of Things in Extremis: Concentration and Refugee Camps; Memories and Afterlives: Homes and Museums; and, Theft, Appropriation and Re-use. Sessions focused on the discussion of pre-circulated papers allowed for both wide-ranging and intense discussion. 

View participant abstracts >>


Thursday, May 14, 2015 

9:15 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks

Leora Auslander (History, University of Chicago)
Tara Zahra (History, University of Chicago)

9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Panel One — Migration's Transformations of the Fabric of Everyday Life

Diana Greenwold (Art History, University of California, Berkeley), “'Ancient Designs Adapted to Modern Uses': The Scuola d’Industrie Italiane, 1905-1927.”
Tobias Brinkmann (Jewish History, Pennsylvania State University), “Ready-to-Wear: How (Im-)migrants Reinvented American Clothes.”
H. Glenn Penny (History, University of Iowa), “Material Connections: German Schools and German Things in Latin America.” 

Commentator:  Emily Osborn, History, University of Chicago

12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.  Lunch

1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Panel Two  The Material Culture of Religious Practice

Shari Rabin (Religious Studies, Yale University), “Material Judaism in Mobile America, 1820-77.”
Gerdien Jonker (Historian, Erlangen Centre of Islam and Law in Europe, Erlangen University), “Lisa’s Things. Jewish Secular Traditions in Muslim Exile 1937 – 1957.” 
Cara Caddoo (American Studies, University of Indiana, Bloomington), “Storefronts and Brick Edifices: Black Churches and the Making of Urban Citizenship.”

Commentator: Holly Shissler (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago)

3:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. — Coffee break

4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Panel Three  Home-making in Motion

Sandra Dudley (School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester), “Burmese Textiles in Refugee Camps and Museums: Displacement and Home from the Object's Point of View.”
Susan Ossman (Anthropology, University of California, Riverside), "The Material Culture of Serial Migrants." 

Commentator: Susan Gal (Anthropology, University of Chicago)

Friday, May 15, 2015

9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Panel Four — The Use of Things in Extremis:  Concentration Camps, Refugee Camps, War

Noah Benninga (History, Hebrew University), “The Bricolage of Death: Jewish Possessions and the Fashioning of the Prisoner Elite in Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1942-1945.” 
Iris Rachamimov (Russian and European Studies, Tel Aviv University), “Small Industry, Occupational Therapy and Role Playing: The Material World of Great War Internment Camps.”
Brandon Schechter (History, University of California, Berkeley), “Khoziaistvo: The Properties of War and Red Army, 1941-1945.”
Felicia Yap (London School of Economics), “Material Culture in Conflict: Allied Refugees and Captives on the Move in Japanese Occupied British Asia.” 

Commentator: Michael Geyer (History, University of Chicago)

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. — Lunch 

1:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Panel Five  Memories and Afterlives: Homes and Museums

Kim Tao (Curator, Australian National Maritime Museum), “A Refugee Boat Called Freedom at the Australian National Maritime Museum.” 
Alexandra Galitzine (Co-director, Non-lieux de l'exil / Non-places of Exile programme, Collège d'Etudes mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme), "The Material Culture of Displacement: From the Artefact to the Imaginary Museum.”   
Jeffrey Wallen (Comparative Literature, Hampshire College) and Aubrey Pomerance (Director of Archives, Jewish Museum, Berlin), “The Migration of Objects and the Trusteeship of Memory.” 
Robin Ostow (Sociology, Wilfred Laurier Univeristy), “The Architecture of Colonialism and the Struggle for Migrants’ Rights in the Bois de Vincennes, October 2010-January 2011. ” 

Commentator: Daniel Greene (Northwestern University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Panel Six  Theft, Appropriation and Re-Use

Bonnie Effros (History, University of Florida), “Appropriating the Roman Past: The Entanglement of Classical Antiquities in the French Conquest of Algeria.” 
Cathleen Giustino (History, Auburn University), “Migration and Resettlement of Confiscated Cultural Property in Czechoslovakia, 1938-1958: Hubs of History and Heritage/Pathways of Memory and Forgetting?" 
Ceyda Karamursel (History, University of Pennsylvania), “Emerald Pins and Sovereign Power: The Dissolution of Imperial Harems in the Ottoman Empire.” 

Commentator: Fiona Rose-Greenland (Research Fellow, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, University of Chicago)

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Concluding Remarks