Ethnography and American Culture in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 1870-1920

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The University of Kent is hosting a one-day symposium on 19th May 2014, entitled ‘Ethnography and American Culture in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 1870-1920’.

A Fair BreezeThe symposium is being organised by Dr Michael J. Collins (University of Kent) and it will include Plenary Lectures by Professors Nancy Bentley (University of Pennsylvania)and Brad Evans (Rutgers, New Jersey). It will attempt to unite literary studies and print culture with intellectual history, anthropology, the history of science and visual culture studies in order to explore how mainstream media related to emergent social-scientific disciplines in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era United States.

To register for Ethnography and American Culture in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 1870-1920 click here.

Full Programme

  • 8.45 –  9.00 Registration
  • 9.00 – 9.15 Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • 9.15 – 10.45 Keynote Lecture: ‘Turning Data Into Metaphor: DuBois, Kinship, and Ethnographic Souls’ – Nancy Bentley (University of Pennsylvania)
  • 10.45 -11.00 Coffee
  • 11- 12.30 Panel 1: Documenting Difference and The Making of American Modernity

“Cultural Encounters in The Southwest: George Wharton James and the American Indian” – Martin Padget, (Aberystwyth University)

“At Home With…”Celebrity Interviewing as Ethnography in the Gilded Age” – Rebecca Roach (New College, Oxford)

“Harlem’s Magician: Charles S. Johnson and the Ironies of Urban Race Relations from Riot to Renaissance” – Cheryl Hudson (Vanderbilt University)

  • 12.30 – 1.30: Buffet Lunch
  • 1.30 – 2.45 Panel 2: Memorialisation and Material Culture – Ethnography on Display

“Ethnography and the Progressive Era: The ‘Memorial’ to the American Indian” – Danielle A. Fleming (University of Glasgow)

“To Amuse as Well as to Instruct: The Display of Humans at America’s Western World’s Fairs, 1894-1914” – Emily Trafford (University of Liverpool)

  • 2.45 – 3.15 Coffee
  • 3.15 – 4.45 Panel 3: Performance and Parody in the Ethnographic Imagination

“The Three R’s of Show Biz – Gags, Singing and a Time Step! The Marx Brothers Go to School” – Rick DesRochers (Long Island University)

“Black Ice: Blackface, Plantation Songs and the Myth of Old Dixie During Polar Exploration” – Tomek Mossakowski (King’s College, London)

  • 4.45 – 6.30 Drinks and Canapes
  • 6.30 – Film Screening and Q&A

Screening of ‘In the Land of the Headhunters’ with Introduction and Q&A by Brad Evans (Gulbenkian Cinema)

Film bill boardBased on recent archival research, in 2008 a collaborative team led by Aaron Glass (now at the Bard Graduate Center), Brad Evans (Rutgers), and Andrea Sanborn (of the U’mista Cultural Centre in BC) oversaw a new restoration of the film that returned the film’s original title, title cards, long-missing footage, color tinting, initial publicity graphics, and original musical score—now thought to be the earliest extant original feature-length film score in America.

Sponsored by The School of English, Centre for American Studies, and Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.

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