People and Things: Creating New Realities (Folk og Ting: Om at skabe nye virkeligheder)

Date and time: October 9, 2013 11.00-17.00

Place: SDU, Odense, Meetingroom Lysningen 1. floor

Registration and paper submission: Here before September 25. The paper should be approx. 5 pages in which the PhD Student discuss her/his take on materiality, whether methodologically, empirically or theoretically. As it is a workshop, papers presenting work-in-progress is indeed anticipated

More information:

Please contact Maja Gildin Zuckerman

Organized by: The Centre of Contemporary Middle East Studies and the Doctoral Programme in History, Area Studies and Archaeology, University of Southern Denmark, in cooperation with Institute of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University

ECTS: With paper: 2, without paper: 0,5

Materiality, materializing, materialization – or simply things, are the focus of many recent studies within both history and sociology. Empirically as well as theoretically, historians and sociologists have increasingly begun investigating people’s associations with materiality and the agency of things. Questions are asked such as: What does the material do; how is the material done; how do hybrids between people and materials create new realities? (Damsholt and Simonsen 2009: 13). Consequently, a series of other essential questions need to be addressed: What does it do to our knowledge about the past when materiality starts appearing as actors? What are the methodological implications when we are faced with non-human informants? Can historical and sociological thinking meet in a new way via this perspective?

This seminar offers a platform to discuss these topics at the intersection of historical and sociological research. Ph.D. students will have the chance to present work-in-progress within these fields as well as participate in the current debates that surround the study of materiality. Researchers from sociology and history will present case studies and address some of the major methodological and theoretical implications for their respective fields.
Prior to the workshop, all participants (presenting as well as not-presenting) will receive and read the various papers in order to allow informed and hopefully engaged discussions.


11.00-11.15 Introduction by Associate Prof. Jakob Egholm Feldt, Roskilde University
11.15-12.00 5 studies of materiality: A max. 10 min. introduction by each of the presenting participants on one self-chosen challenging aspect of their study
12.00-13.00 “Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine”. Prof. Ronen Shamir, Tel Aviv University
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-15.30 3 PhD Students present their take on materiality
15.30-16.00 Coffee and snacks
16.00-17.00 "Materializing history. Studies of technologies and spaces of the past". Associate Prof. Dorte Gert Simonsen

Key speakers:

Ronen Shamir: Ph.D. Sociology, Northwestern University (1992); Professor of Sociology, Tel Aviv University (2009 -). A political and legal sociologist, he published on the question of corporate social responsibility. His most recent research project focuses on the electrification of the Jaffa-Tel Aviv region in the 1920s, focusing on the role of the market in the nation-building process.

Dorte Gert Simonsen: Ph.D. History, Copenhagen University (2001). Associate Professor of History (2007 - ). Research areas: mobility, technology and culture, cultural history of speed, cultural history of time and space, Americanization and globalization, cultural history.

Jakob Egholm Feldt: Ph.D. Jewish Studies, Copenhagen University(2005); Associate Professor of History (2009 - ) Roskilde University. His research deals with the construction and development of humanistic ideas and concepts in science and intellectual culture. Particularly in the construction and development of ideas, concepts and methods within modern Jewish history, anti-Semitism, Zionism, European-Middle Eastern cultural relations, colonialism and anti-colonialism, and cultural and historical philosophy.

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