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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access March 26, 2019

American Art Matters: Rethinking Materiality in American Studies

  • Erika Doss EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Cultural Studies


The “material” turn has steadily gained currency in cultural studies and the humanities, with scholars increasingly attentive to theorising things and examining their presence, power, and meaning in any number of fields and disciplines. This essay stems from the keynote lecture given at the conference MatteReality: Historical Trajectories and Conceptual Futures for Material Culture Studies, held on March 23, 2017, at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Freiburg. Focused in particular on the meaning of materiality in American art history and American Studies today, it opens with an examination of the factors of monetisation and mobility and segues to a consideration of more efficacious ways to assess, theorise, and critique the material turn. Two areas that are particularly relevant in terms of rethinking, and mediating, materiality in American art and American Studies are those of technological process and affect: how things are made and how things make us feel.

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Received: 2018-08-24
Accepted: 2018-10-23
Published Online: 2019-03-26
Published in Print: 2019-02-01

© 2019 Erika Doss, by De Gruyter Open

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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