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EIHS Lecture: Stuff and NonSense!

Mike Chin (University of California, Davis) + Rafael Rachel Neis (University of Michigan)
Thursday, February 2, 2023
4:00-6:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
Our speakers 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 (

Ancient history can be described as the study of old stuff, although as practiced in academia it is sometimes associated with a closed and rarified stuffiness. For those who have given up on the exclusivity of many forms of academic knowledge-making, for those who are against that kind of history, we ask about what happens when our history making involves actual making with matter, so that historical inquiry becomes stuff itself, escaping beyond the vaunted confines of the lecture hall, the lectern, the powerpoint, the Argument, the cute introductory anecdote, and the Archive with all its known limitations. Acknowledging that such experimentation of this kind can result in silliness, and even feel like nonsense, artist-historians Mike Chin and Rafael Rachel Neis nonetheless invite us into their performance/installation. Let us venture into our illustrious History Department, its hallways bedecked with stuffed animals (or as they have come to be known, “stuffies”). As we enter together into a kind of history-making set against the certainties of familiar modes of knowing, let us embrace / cultivate a salutary unknowing, all the while doing stuff with stuff.

Mike Chin is associate professor of classics at the University of California, Davis. He earned his PhD from Duke University. Publications include Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) and Melania: Early Christianity Through the Life of One Family, co-edited with Caroline T. Schroeder (University of California Press, 2016).

Rafael Rachel Neis is professor of History and Judaic Studies and Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Ancient History at the University of Michigan. Their book, When a Human Gives Birth to a Raven: Rabbis and the Reproduction of Species, will be out in May 2023.

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: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: History
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), Department of History