Call for Papers: Media Homes: Material Culture in 20thC Domestic Life

The Research School for Media Studies (ReMS) invites participants to reconnect the strands between media and material culture, as framed within the locus of the interior and domestic life. Both the concept of ‘media’ and of ‘materiality’ are approached from two angles: the different media used to convey new visions of domestic material culture should be analysed in their function of not only representing but also moulding and creating the ‘home’. At the same time, all media – be it books, radios or personal computers – are material objects in themselves that conquer the private home and give it new meaning as a space of media consumption. The home itself thus emerges as ‘mediated’ in two ways: as a represented – imagined and conceptualised – social space and as a space shaped by the material presence of media.

Against this background a set of key questions can be raised: how are old and new media technologies given meaning within everyday life and family relations? In what ways do domestic dwellers engage with media discourses concerning domestic lifestyle and home improvement? To what extent are categories of class, gender and ethnicity bound up with media consumption and related cultural practices within the home? What are the sensory, embodied dimensions to media consumption within the domestic sphere (visibility and audibility, as well as touch, taste and smell)? In what ways did the onset of digital media encourage a rethinking of the domestic sphere (as ‘home theatre’ or smart home)?

Themes for the conference may include, but are not limited to:

  • Media representations of the home, domestic life and ‘conspicuous consumption’
  • Home recording and amateur media practices
  • Memory practices and forms of collecting based on media and the domestic sphere (diaries, scrapbooks, mementos)
  • Trends such as miniaturisation and portability, with new constructions of the interior or domestic in public life (e.g. mobile technologies in the car, mobile phones, portable stereos)
  • The relationship between private and public forms of media consumption (cinema-going, portable stereos)
  • Paradigmatic shifts in conceptualisations of the home and domestic life, and the challenge of periodisation for researchers
  • The relationship of the ‘media home’ to urban, regional, national, and international or transnational identity categories

The full Call for Papers is available here.

Please send abstracts (max. 500 words) and a short CV before 20 January 2012 to Natalie Scholz / Carolyn Birdsall Travel funds will be available for a limited number of participants. A publication related to the conference is planned for February 2013.

Friday 29 June 2012

University of Amsterdam


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