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The Material Culture Caucus is an interest-based gathering of scholars within the American Studies Association (ASA), the professional organization for American Studies in the United States. Formed in 1994, the caucus seeks to promote the place of material culture studies both within the larger context of american history and culture, and the specific activities of the ASA.

The Material Culture Caucus sponsors a growing range of activities designed to create an ongoing forum for members of the material culture community. We work to address and promote the common interests of scholars and students through a variety of initiatives, which presently include

  1. Annual business meeting during the conference of the ASA (usually held in early November of each year). Since 1994 members of the caucus have gathered at the start of each conference to plan the activities of the group for the coming year. Participation in the caucus is open to any interested member of the ASA. A six-member steering committee works to carry out the goals of the caucus on an ongoing basis.

  2. Annual reception during the conference of the ASA. The reception, which is jointly sponsored with the Art History/Visual Culture caucus, presents an informal opportunity for interaction and collegiality among members of the caucus.

  3. Organizational advocacy. The Material Culture Caucus solicits and sponsors sessions relating to American material culture studies for inclusion in the program of the annual ASA conference. Likewise, the caucus seeks to promote an awarenes of material culture through a regular column in the ASA newsletter, and by maintaining ties with the ASA leadership.

  4. Educational and scholarly resources. Material culture study is still a specialized (though growing) field, and more and more scholars in related disciplines are making use of material cultural resources in their teaching and research. The caucus works to provide high-quality resources at a range of levels, to promote not only the use of material cultural resources, but a high level of scholarship in the area. To this end, the caucus sponsors:

    The Material Culture Caucus is still an evolving intiative, and we would be delighted to hear your comments and suggestions. Please join us at our meeting and reception in Seattle next November. You may also contact us directly, as the steering committee is active all year.

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    this page is maintained by susan garfinkel on behalf of the material culture caucus of the american studies association, and the department of american studies at the university of maryland, college park. last updated june 9, 1999.