We are a diverse group from local and regional institutions and organizations dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration in the study of the material world. Our group includes, but is not limited to, faculty and students from the following departments: Anthropology, Art, Art History, Communication Arts, English, Design Studies, Folklore, History, Landscape Architecture, and Music.

Core Faculty

The following faculty members provide the foundation for the Material Culture Program on the UW campus. In addition to overseeing the program’s administrative details, they provide advising for students interested in the study of material culture.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.31.49 PMAnna Andrzejewski

Department of Art History
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 210, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Research interests: Vernacular architecture; history and theory of modernism.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.33.32 PMWilliam Aylward


Department of Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 968, Van Hise Hall

Research interests: Greek and Roman archaeology; Roman provincial studies, especially Anatolia; history of architecture.

CarterSarah Carter

Curator and Director of Research, The Chipstone Foundation

Chipstone Fellow and Lecturer in Material Culture,

Research Interests: American Studies; Material Culture and its history, theory and application; American Decorative Arts and Art History; Museum Studies and Curatorship; Histories of Children, Childhood, and the Family; Gender Studies and Women’s History; History of Education 

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.36.23 PMJanet Gilmore

Associate Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture
University of Wisconsin, Madison
46B Agriculture Hall

Research interests: Ethnic and regional foodways; maritime traditions; landscapes.


Sherry Harlacher

Center for Design and Material Culture, Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
University of Wisconsin, Madison
1235D Nancy Nicholas Hall

Research interests: The historical remains and contemporary products of textile and design cultures and the processes they embody

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.39.14 PMCatherine Jackson

Assistant Professor
Department of the History of Science
University of Wisconsin, Madison
333 Bradley Memorial Building

Research interests: history of chemistry; history of modern physical sciences; history of medicine and life sciences, especially as they intersect with history of chemistry; science and imperialism; studies of scientific practice and pedagogy; instrumentation and material culture; practice and theory.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.40.19 PMYuhang Li

Assistant Professor
Department of Art History
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 218, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Research interests: Chinese Art, Gender and material practice in late imperial China, Lay Buddhist women, the cult of Guanyin and image making, women artists, History of Chinese textile and costume, opera and Chinese visual culture, Qing court art.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.41.19 PMAnn Smart Martin

Stanley and Polly Stone Professor of American Decorative Arts
Department of Art History
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 205, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Research interests: Decorative arts and material culture method and theory; the “art of folk” in Wisconsin; vernacular craft.


Mark Nelson

Department of Design Studies
School of Human Ecology
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 3146, Human Ecology Building

Research interests: the relationship between the human body and Modernist architecture; the role of ornament in architecture; digital illustration.

nyhartLynn K. Nyhart

Vilas-Bablitch-Kelch Distinguished Achievement Professor
History of Science Department
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 226, Bradley Memorial Building
(608) 262-3978

Research interests: the relationship between the human body and Modernist architecture; the role of ornament in architecture; digital illustration.


Jennifer Pruitt-Website photo Jennifer Pruitt

Assistant Professor
Department of Art History
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 218
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Research interests: Islamic art and architecture

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 8.13.15 PMSissel Schroeder

Department of Anthropology
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 5434, Sewell Social Science Building

Research interests: the evolutionary significance of emerging sociopolitical complexity among tribal and chiefdom societies in the mid-continental U.S.; the spatial distribution in the Mid-continent in relation to inconstant and heterogenous social, natural, and anthropogenic spatial landscapes.

Jonathan Senchyne PhotographJonathan Senchyne

Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies
Director, Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture
University of Wisconsin, Madison
4255 Helen C. White

Research interests: history of the book, material cultures of print, material texts, early and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, theories of materialisms, the materiality of the digital, GLAM: galleries, libraries, archives, and museums.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.51.37 PMSarah Thal

Associate Professor WI 101
Department of History
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 4117 Mosse Humanities

Research interests: Religion and politics of Japan.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.18.21 PMLee Palmer Wandel

Department of History
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Room 4105 Mosse Humanities

Research interests: early modern Christianity; early modern Europe.

Affiliated Faculty and Staff

Attention to many different aspects of material culture can be found throughout the Madison area’s vital community. These faculty and staff members help to bring to the Material Culture Program many exciting and diverse components of teaching.

Department of Anthropology

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Professor

Department of Art

Tom Loeser, Professor

Department of Art History

Nicholas Cahill, Professor

Preeti Chopra, Associate Professor

Thomas Dale, Professor

Henry Drewal, Professor

Quitman Phillips, Professor

Associated Museum Professionals

Jody Clowes, Director, James Watrous Gallery

Amy Gilman, Director, Chazen Museum of Art

Jon Prown, Director, Chipstone Foundation

Maria Saffiotti Dale, Curator, Chazen Museum of Art

Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Program

Arijit Sen, BLC, Associate Professor, UW-Milwaukee


Department of Design Studies

Jung-hye Shin, Associate Professor

Department of English

Susan Bernstein, Professor

Lisa Cooper, Associate Professor

Department of History

Colleen Dunlavy, Professor

Nan Enstad, Professor

Department of Landscape Architecture

Sam F. Dennis, Jr, Associate Professor

Department of Music

Susan Cook, Director, School of Music