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Four Great Material Culture Papers

Today, on the first day of the Central States Anthropological Association meetings in Indianapolis, Indiana, four members of the IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology gave outstanding papers reflecting their broader work in the study of material culture.  Panel organizer Teri Klassen gave a fine museum-based, collections-study paper looking at a collection of Eastern Cherokee dolls in the collections of the Mathers Museum.  Gabrielle A. Berlinger presented her current thesis research on commonalities and variation in the meaning of Sukkah building in the Jewish community of Bloomington, Indiana.  Carrie Hertz presented her work on “inalienable clutter” in the lives and closets of middle class twenty-somethings and Liora Sarfati explored the role of commercially produced and distributed material culture in the practice of contemporary Korean shamanism. Liora’s paper was a first public glimpse of recently completed doctoral fieldwork undertaken last year in Seoul, South Korea.  All four papers were first rate works, combing closely studied detail and smart analysis. The audience was large (as these things go) and attentive.  The panel followed on a fine group of museum studies presentations by a team of Butler University undergraduates, making it a great day for museum and material culture studies at CSAS.

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