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CFP: New Thoughts on Old Things: Four Centuries of Furnishing the Northeast

A conference for emerging scholars co-sponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Massachusetts Historical Society; and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts

October 4, 2013
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Alfond Auditorium

Over the last fifty years, the study of furniture and domestic interiors has extended into a broad range of disciplines and embraced a wide variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. The Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture Initiative-a collaborative of eleven institutions celebrating furniture and furniture-making in Massachusetts through an extensive series of exhibitions and programs, as well as an educational website ( feature advances in the field, while encouraging new perspectives and ideas. This conference will bring together staff and patrons from Massachusetts institutions and emerging scholars, affording a unique opportunity to highlight dynamic new scholarship on the history of furnishings and interiors in the Northeast region of North America. The geographic and chronological scope of the symposium is intentionally broad-the Northeast region of North America from approximately 1600-2000-in order to attract as wide a variety of subjects and approaches as possible.

The conference organizers seek proposals for 30-minute papers that address any aspect of the design, production, and circulation of furnishings; the creation and modification of domestic interiors; the social and cultural meaning imposed on or embodied in these objects and the spaces they occupied, or the role of furniture and interiors in the creation and maintenance of family, community, or political identities. Papers can be historical, critical, or theoretical in nature.

Please submit a 250-word proposal and a C.V. via electronic mail to Nonie Gadsden at Proposals should include the title of the paper and the presenter's name. You may also attach 2-3 relevant images. Priority will be given to emerging scholars. Final papers should be approximately 30 minutes long. The symposium offers a travel stipend.

For further information, please contact Nonie Gadsden at
The deadline for submissions is June 3, 2013.