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Pondering Why Things Matter

Liberal Studies Conference Considers Material Culture

Feb. 26, 2014


Cal State Fullerton's Liberal Studies Department hosts a two-day conference, "Why Things Matter," to examine how we view of the material world and its impact on culture. The program is free and open to the public.


One of two keynote speakers, Carl Knappett, professor and Walter Graham/Homer Thompson Chair in Aegean Prehistory at the University of Toronto, will discuss "Do Things Really Matter?" He is author of "Networking Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction."

Also keynoting is Hélène Mialet, senior fellow at the UC Davis Center for Science and Innovation Studies and visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley. She will discuss "Reading Hawking's Presence," based on interviews she conducted with the legendary physicist for her 2012 book, "Hawing Incorporated."


March 7-8
8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.


Mihaylo Hall, Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, 92631
Room 1313 for Friday's sessions and Room 1308 for Saturday's sessions
Refreshments offered in Room 213 of the Humanities-Social Sciences Building.


$2 per hour or $8 for a daily permit. Details are available online


In addition to the keynote addresses, the conference features a series of presentations by scholars, including graduate students. Among the topics: "Things and Objects in the Internet Backbone" by Bradler Fidler, director of UCLA's Kleinrock Center for Internet Studies; "The Furnace - Between Modernity and Pollution" by Mogens Rüdiger of Denmark's Aalborg University; and "Place Collecting: Making Progress, Making Meaning" by Brendan Gauhen, from CSUF's Class of 2009, who earned his master's degree in American studies and is now pursuing a doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin.

Cal State Fullerton students will serve as commentators at one of the sessions. In addition, liberal studies majors who attend the conference will have the opportunity to write a 1,500-word paper on the topic "Why Things Matter" in a competition for a $500 prize to be awarded at the end of the spring semester. Details are available online.

More Info:

Emily Bonney, associate professor of liberal studies 
Kevin Lambert, assistant professor of liberal studies 

Media Contact:

Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

Tags:  Academics & ResearchEvents