Introduction to the MWMS Blog

Image of the St. Louis region showing the state boundary between Missouri and Illinois within the Mississippi and the city/county divide to the west and north. 'Pinpoints' mark geographic locations for many sites our contributors are researching. Created using Google Earth, 3D mode, and post-processed in Photoshop. Copyright AMCS, 2017.

Morgan Brooks, posted on February 17, 2017

Welcome to the Material World of Modern Segregation (MWMS) project blog. It will serve as a digital stream of consciousness and source of updates, with posts that document and reflect upon the research processes and discoveries of project collaborators. Because the MWMS is focused intently upon material sites within the St. Louis community, the blog will also provide community members a point of access to site-specific resources and findings. For more information about the purpose and goals of the project, see the About page.

The blog supports the various activities associated with the project, whose uniqueness lies in its collaborative nature. Contributors include scholars and artists from many fields of study, each of whom are engaging with their own site of segregation, and sharing their findings as they develop written and artistic responses to the site. The blog will reflect the MWMS collaborative model by highlighting the varied approaches, methodologies, findings, and means of expression that participants will pursue. It will capture the variety of voices and multiple perspectives in the form of participant interviews, posts by guest authors, featured objects, and the like. The blog will also “unpack” relevant terms and concepts such as ‘material culture’ and ‘living archive.’ These posts will give readers access not only to research premises and findings but the collaborative processes that make the MWMS project rich and innovative.

In addition to the website, the project includes several other interrelated elements:

* Symposium: A symposium will take place April 21-22, 2017, with the goal of sharing initial research findings and written drafts, generating new ideas that will contribute to essay revisions in the months to come. The symposium will allow contributors working in many different areas of studies and throughout different universities to come together

for a collaborative experience. There will also be opportunities for contributors to visit one another’s sites and create deeper connections and networks of collaboration among them.

* MWMS Archive. A searchable repository will be constructed with resources related to the project. Archival material, as well as original content created from the contributors over the course of their research, will be curated and accessible through a partnership with Olin Library.

* AMCS Course. An undergraduate course in American Culture Studies is being taught in the Spring 2017 semester, in conjunction with the continuing research of contributors. Throughout the course, specific sites of modern segregation will be analyzed through the lens of material culture studies. The students will also participate in the symposium, allowing for engagement between the contributors and undergraduates. For a complete course description, click here.

* Published Book. The essays produced by the contributors will be collected in an edited volume, tentatively titled The Material World of Modern Segregation: St. Louis in the Long Era of Ferguson. The projected publication date is Fall 2018/Spring 2019. The book will be visually rich, and likely have an online component.

The blog will make all facets of the project visible, and will aim to encourage additional research within the community. The next blog post will outline local resources and how they can be used to dig deeper into St. Louis sites that spark an interest. In addition, the digital archive that will be developed alongside the research of our contributors will serve as a resource for the local community who are curious about how material sites have contributed to the separation and segregation (past and present) throughout the St. Louis region. Make sure to check back for the upcoming guide to local archives and resources and more project updates.

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