The Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association invites submissions to three proposed sessions at the ASA’s Annual Meeting (New Orleans, Nov. 3-6, 2022). We encourage proposals that connect to the conference theme, “The Roof is on Fire” ( in a thoughtful way. Please read about each of the three submission options below and, if interested, send the materials requested to Anne Verplanck ( and Sarah Carter ( by Monday, Jan. 17; participants will be informed by Monday Jan. 24, and asked to contribute to the final panel proposals (due Feb. 1). While we would be happy to have all of these sessions in person, we support ASA’s new inclusive policy to allow videoconferencing and pre-recorded sessions with advance planning to reduce barriers to participation.

 Material Culture Caucus Panel Session: “The Roof is on Fire” conference theme offers a bold, metaphor-rich call for meaningful, community-connected scholarship—it, “invites strategies that draw our attention to and command a multisensory, multiregister engagement with the world as it is and as we want it to be.” These strategies are central to the work of material culture scholars.  The Material Culture Caucus invites proposals for conference papers, especially from emerging scholars, that address this wide-ranging conference theme through analysis of material evidence—broadly defined—of past, present, and even future material possibilities and impossibilities. Please submit a paper abstract (maximum of 500 words per abstract) and a 350-word (or less) biographical statement.

Material Culture Caucus Pedagogy Session: “The Material Culture of Now”. We encourage panelists who engage with the most contemporary materials, including but not limited to the material culture of Covid-19. We invite panelists who have been responsible for collecting these materials for their institutions, as well as practitioners who are deploying this material in institutions, classrooms, and virtual settings. Please submit a paper abstract (maximum of 500 words per abstract) and a 350-word (or less) biographical statement.

 Questions-Driven Session: What are the roles and responsibilities of museums as sites for community history and activism, past, present and future? We invite proposals for a session that asks us to consider the roles and responsibilities museums hold as sites for community history and activism. How have museums served this function and how might they engage and scaffold meaningful community work? This “Questions-Driven Session” – a new ASA panel format – will include 5-minute presentations by panelists addressing a central question; the bulk of the session will then be a moderated, question-focused discussion among panelists and attendees. We encourage presentations that focus on reinterpretations of collections; authorship in museums and cultural sites; connections between historical treatment and activism (e.g. historic and contemporary slavery); decolonizing work in museums; ethical cataloguing, curation, and interpretation; museums as sites of historical memory and inheritance; community identity and tourism; and tourism at sites of former enslavement. Please submit a paragraph outlining your proposed contribution to this conversation and a 350-word (or less) biographical statement.


NB: All interested parties who email us will still be responsible for following all posted instructions and, if not receiving MCC sponsorship, for submitting their own panels or papers to the ASA by the ASA deadline (February 1, 2022). For more ASA instructions on proposal submission, see: