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EIHS Workshop: Material Culture: Objects Against the Historical Grain?

Sierra Jones, Ekaterina A. Olson Shipyatsky, Lucy Smith, Robyn Thum-O’Brien, Katherine French (moderator)
Friday, February 3, 2023
12:00-2:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
Our guests have requested that attendants mask and the Eisenberg Institute will provide K95s at the door.

The institute will provide a streaming link upon request. Please contact (

Humans shape the material world every day, but to what extent does the material shape us back? In the wake of the so-called “material turn,” historians have become increasingly cognizant of the power of material culture, learning to appreciate both the importance of objects as part of people’s everyday lived experience in the past and their value as a form of historical evidence. In this EIHS workshop, graduate students working across different disciplines will explore how attending to the material can complicate traditional historical narratives and methodologies. The objects our panelists will consider run the gamut from the seemingly mundane to the monumental and fantastical: a cloak of beards from a fifteenth-century poem, George Washington's dentures, the nineteenth-century artist Edmonia Lewis’ Death of Cleopatra, and milk cans from the Warsaw Ghetto. Join us as we explore how these objects tell untold stories.


• Sierra Jones (PhD Student, Ancient History, University of Michigan)
• Ekaterina A. Olson Shipyatsky (PhD Student, Political Science, University of Michigan)
• Lucy Smith (PhD Candidate, History, University of Michigan)
• Robyn Thum-O’Brien (PhD Candidate, English Language and Literature, University of Michigan)
• Katherine French, moderator (J. Frederick Hoffman Professor of History, University of Michigan)

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: History
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History

The Thursday Series is the core of the institute's scholarly program, hosting distinguished guests who examine methodological, analytical, and theoretical issues in the field of history. 

The Friday Series consists mostly of panel-style workshops highlighting U-M graduate students. On occasion, events may include lectures, seminars, or other programs presented by visiting scholars.

The insitute also hosts other historical programming, including lectures, film screenings, author appearances, and similar events aimed at a broader public audience.