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Masterclass – Leora Auslander

Material culture and everyday life

Masterclass Leora Auslander (University of Chicago)

Date: Thursday 1 November 2012
Venue: Amsterdam, Universiteitsbilbliotheek – Vondelzaal
Time: 10.30-17.00 hrs.
Open to: PhD candidates and RMa students.
Credits: 1 EC

Since the 1980s material culture has become an integral part of cultural history. Besides a focus on art and text, historians (and other scholars) have learned to use, analyze and integrate everyday objects in their research on subjects such as politics, consumption, society and gender. As historians began to look beyond words, researchers on ancient and medieval history especially started to push their boundaries towards archeological and anthropological sources. Yet, most of the research on early modern and modern culture and politics is still primarily text-based.

Professor Leora Auslander is a prominent scholar who combines outstanding research on political history, material culture and everyday life in order to understand how and why everyday things can become catalysts for conflict and means of expressing identities. While her research primarily focuses on modern France, her most recent book Cultural Revolutions compares three conflicts in the early modern period: English Civil War, the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution.

In this one-day seminar, Leora Auslander will present her ideas on using material culture and everyday life to understand both early modern and modern society by using further developments from her book Cultural Revolutions and her current research. In addition, PhD students will be given the opportunity to present and discuss their own research.

Preliminary reading

  • Leora Auslander, ‘Beyond Words’, American Historical Review 110 (2005), p. 1015-1045.
  • Leora Auslander, Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in England, North America, and France ( Oxford: Berg Press, 2008).


All participants should send in an abstract (ca. 250 words) outlining their research project. The PhD researchers and RMa students who are also interested in giving a 15-minute presentation are invited to write a brief proposal of their presentation as well. RMa students will have to score ‘acceptable’ or higher for their presentation and participation to receive the 1EC certificate.

Submit via; deadline 24 October 2012.

About Leora Auslander
Leora Auslander is professor of Modern European Social History at the University of Chicago and a member of the Committee on Jewish Studies and the Center for Gender Studies at the same university. Her research interests are material culture, the history and theory of the everyday, gender history and the history and theory of citizenship and national belonging. Her most recent research focuses on minority diasporic cultures, particularly those of Jews and post-colonial subjects. Her major publications include Taste and power: furnishing modern France (1996), ‘Beyond Words’ American Historical Review 110 (2005) p. 1015-1045 and most recently Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in England, North America, and France (2009).

Provisional programme

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