1.3. Material Culture


Material Culture


Jennifer M. Black, Associate Professor of History, Misericordia University

Jennifer Black is a specialist in 19th-Century America, esp. visual and material culture. Her book project Branding Trust (Penn, 2023), looks at the development of branding practices & trademark law in the US from 1830-1920. She teaches courses on the history of American Capitalism, Visual Culture, Public History, US History, Women’s History, and Witchcraft in the Early Modern World.

Marina Moskowitz, Design Studies, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

After working abroad in the History Department at the University of Glasgow for almost 20 years, I have recently returned to the US, where I am teaching history (primarily of textiles and other designed objects) and material culture within the Design Studies department at UW-Madison. My work sits at the intersection of cultural history, material culture, and business history, with particular interests in the stuff of everyday life.

The chair of this session is: Paula de la Cruz-Fernández

This workshop will challenge participants to rethink some traditional sources through material culture methodologies. We will present a few case studies from our own research to demonstrate a basic method for understanding objects, and what they can tell us about business history / the history of capitalism. We will also have an opportunity to view objects from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We would like to encourage discussion about 1) how business historians can augment their research through consideration of the materiality of their subjects and 2) how material culture methods might amplify the use of “traditional” business history sources (eg, account books, firm meeting minutes, newspapers advertisements, etc).

For more information or if you wish to participate in this workshop, please check this document.