Material Culture, Religion, and Politics in Early America

West Campus, Conference Room A/B, 6:30pm



“Objects enable the social world to happen, and we need to pay attention to what objects do and how they work,” observed the historian David Jaffee. Religion and politics are undeniably central to the social world of early America, and objects enabled the happening of religious and political cultures in terms of their theory, practice, and imagination. A day-long panel series explores these three components of early American material culture—theory, practice, and imagination. And the discussion will culminate in a dinner forum, sponsored by the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from across the nation who specialize in religious studies, literature, art history, history, and American studies to discuss how attending to the material elucidates new facets of early American politics and religion.

The discussant facilitators will be Phillip Maciak and Caroline Wigginton. Dr. Maciak is Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at Wash U. He hales from Louisiana State University, where he is Assistant Professor of English and Film and Media Arts. He is also TV editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. Dr. Wigginton is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Mississippi and the author of In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America.

Iver Bernstein

Director, American Culture Studies