Biography of Objects

24.–25.04.2014

Ort Internationales Kolleg Morphomata, Universität zu Köln Weyertal 59 (Rückgebäude: dritter Stock, Bibliothek) 50937 Köln

Konzept Dietrich Boschung, Tobias Kienlin, Patric A. Kreuz

Kontakt Thierry Greub (tgreub[at]uni-koeln.de)

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Over the last years interpretative approaches focusing on the ‘biographies’ of objects have become increasingly popular in the field of cultural studies. This reflects a welcomed interest in material culture and aspects of materiality or mediality. In the meantime, however, an expansive use can be observed in which objects feature a ‘biography’ and, in further extension, have ‘agency’. Even if historical or ethnographic cases offer evidence for such a parallel drawn between people and objects from an emic perspective, such conceptualisations remain problematic as a general model for ‘man / object’-relationships. Beyond programmatic declarations they therefore still remain to be discussed regarding their suitability as a category of cultural analysis. Therefore, the aim of the workshop is to have a closer look at different conceptions of ‘biographies of objects’ as well as the notions of the ontological status of things that are involved.