Iris Ford Lectures on Material Culture


Associate Professor of Anthropology Iris Ford has been and continues to be an established and well-respected part of the Anthropology Department through her excellence in teaching, as well as non-St. Mary’s campus centered activities. She has served as Chair of the Department, a trustee for St. Mary’s, a board member for the Maryland Humanities council, and has received numerous grants and awards for her work.

To add to her career of education, Professor Ford is giving a lecture on material culture at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. This lecture will be held “in conjunction with Sue Johnson’s art installation named ‘the American Dreamscape.’” Sue Johnson is an artist whose exhibition will be (according to the Hollins University website) a “mixed media work about combining the visual American Dream of the 1950s of domestic interiors and making it contemporary for modern consumers.”

In the past, Ford has taught classes on African American Culture, Kinship, Food, and Culture as well as on tourism. A cultural anthropologist, Ford has been fascinated by material culture and the interactions between public and private space. Her lecture is entitled “Material Culture at Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space and Stuff.”

Her summary of the lecture was, “Domestic space may seem trivial in the gendered public/private scheme of things. Who cares about decorating? But the space, objects, and social drama of home play a profound role in shaping human experience. How do our houses and the stuff we cram into them influence the values of family life and the behaviors of family members; inform our national, class, gendered, and ethnic identities; and serve as a barometer of change – sometimes supporting and sometimes challenging the status quo? Are we what we live in?”

On Thursday, Dec. 5th, Professor Ford will present this interesting lecture at Hollins University and it is sure to be a fantastic addition to the art exhibition of Sue Johnson.