On March 19th, 20th, and 21st, an interdisciplinary Vernaculars of the Global Midwest conference convened at UW-Madison. The American Midwest – center and periphery, home and way-station – is a paradoxically parochial yet cosmopolitan place, a deeply rooted region inextricably interconnected with the larger world. Its diverse indigenous and immigrant peoples have vigorously sustained, abandoned, altered, invented, revived, extended, combined, and consumed an astonishing range of enduring and emerging cultural expressions. Vernaculars of the Global Midwest explored the rooted yet convoluted elements of the region’s distinctive buildings and landscapes, languages and dialects, music and song through an interdisciplinary series of presentations, panel discussions, performances, and workshops focused on field research, archival collections, and digital mapping.
Paula Lupkin, a professor of Art History and Art Education at the University of North Texas, gave a talk on the "Lager Landscape" of the midwest, featuring beer-inspired architecture in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and beyond. BLC faculty affiliate Jim Leary spoke on world music in Wisconsin. On Friday, panels about Fieldwork, Revitalization, Digital Tools, and Preservation featured the challenges that scholars face across the disciplines of music, folklore, language, and architecture. BLC Co-Coordinator Arijit Sen spoke on revitalization in Milwaukee, and faculty affiliate Janet Gilmore contributed to the Fieldwork panel. We were excited to host renowned architectural historian Tom Carter, who also shared his thoughts on fieldwork. Dr. Carter also played in a World Records Concert on Friday evening. On Saturday afternoon, BLC Co-Coordinator Anna Andrzejewski led a tour of Mineral Point, Wisconsin for conference participants.
Saturday morning, BLC students and faculty met for a breakout session on Architecture, in which we discussed the future of the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures program. It was a very productive conversation, and excellent ideas came out of the meeting that will carry BLC forward in the years to come.
The Vernaculars of the Global Midwest conference was convened by:
Anna Andrzejewski (Art History, Building, Landscapes, and Culture, UW-Madison)
Susan C. Cook (School of Music, UW-Madison)
James P. Leary (Folklore, Scandinavian Studies, UW-Madison)
Joseph Salmons (Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, German, UW-Madison)
Henry Sapoznik (Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture, UW-Madison)
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture and the Center for the Humanities, with support from the Humanities Without Walls consortium, based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The Humanities Without Walls consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Exhibits at the symposium generously provided by Jeanette Casey and Tom Caw at Mills Music Library, and Lindsey Meier and Sheila Leary from the University of Wisconsin Press
Rebecca Summer, a PhD Candidate in Geography at UW-Madison, had her research on dogs and pet ownership in Madison's Westmorland neighborhood published in the March 2015 issue of the Westmorland Courier.
Becca completed this research in Anna Andrzejewski's "Methods in Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures" course in the spring of 2014. Class members' final projects focused on either Westmorland in Madison or the Washington Park neighborhood in Milwaukee. You can read more about these topics in our BLC archive: http://blcprogram.weebly.com/fieldwork-archive.html
You'll find a copy of the Courier issue here: http://westmorland-neighborhood.net/wm_pdf/CourierMar2015.pdf. Congratulations, Becca!
We are excited to announce that the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures field school is bringing renowned anthropologist, Eric Lassiter to campus.
Here are the details.
Location and time: Friday April 3, 2015.3:00-5:30pm @ Curtin Hall 175, 3243 North Downer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211
Title of talk: "Fields of Collaboration: On Collaborative Ethnography and Community-Based Research"
Description: Ethnography continues to be an exciting way to learn about others and ourselves. This presentation surveys changes in ethnographic theory and practice over the past several decades, with a focus on how ideas about collaboration, collaborative ethnography, and community-based research continue to transform how ethnographers think about and carry out their fieldwork, writing, teaching, community work, and other activities.
Bio: Luke Eric Lassiter is professor of humanities and anthropology and Director of the Graduate Humanities Program at Marshall University. In this role he coordinates a wide range of faculty-student collaborative research and creative projects and programs, including the Glenwood Center for Scholarship in the Humanities, for which he is the Co-Director. Lassiter is the author of several books, including The Power of Kiowa Song, Invitation to Anthropology, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, and, most recently (with Elizabeth Campbell), Doing Ethnography Today. He founded the journal Collaborative Anthropologies in 2007, and served as its editor or co-editor until 2013. In 2005, Lassiter received the prestigious Margaret Mead Award for The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie's African American Community. His work brought faculty, students, and community members together to produce a collaborative ethnography of Muncie's black community. Much of Lassiter's work has focused on how scholars and local communities can research and write together to advance multicultural understanding and social change, including as it relates to developing community-university collaborative pedagogies. He's delivered numerous invited lectures on these and other topics at national and international colleges and universities, including at Princeton, University of Michigan, Dartmouth, Georgetown, University of British Columbia, Lund University, and the University of Nottingham.
Dr. Arijit Sen, Co-Coordinator of BLC, will present as part of a lecture series at the Milwaukee County Historical Society entitled, Pride in Place: Milwaukee’s Architecture and Built Environment.
Arijit Sen, PhD
Placemaking and Interactions with the Built Enviroment
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Sen is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he teaches architectural design urbanism and cultural landscapes. He co-founded and is the co-coordinator of the Buildings Cultures Landscapes doctoral program initiative between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Milwaukee.
For more information, visit, http://www.milwaukeehistory.net/lecture-series/.