Cultural Brokers

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ANNOUNCEMENT: A workshop on Cultural Brokers, April 8, 2016 (9am-4pm), Sarratt 331 
We are pleased to announce "Cultural Brokers," a VHS workshop focusing on the movement of culture and ideas, and the people who make that movement happen. The day-long workshop is open to graduate students, faculty, postdocs, and anyone else with an interest in the ways we track ideas, objects, and practices on the move and the people who made this possible. The workshop will be divided into three sessions. In the first, moderated by our very own Paul Kramer, session participants will discuss common readings to establish a framework for the day's discussions. In the second, invited guests Cristoph Kalter (Freie Universität Berlin, Berkeley) and Pablo Palomino (U Chicago) will offer short presentations about their work on retornados (returnees from the Portuguese African colonies to Portugal following decolonization in the 1970s) and musical globalization and transnational networks in 20th-century Latin America. A discussion will follow. In the third and culminating session, all participants will discuss "roadblocks"--problems or obstacles they've faced in writing, researching, or conceptualizing their own work relating to cultural brokers or cultural movement.  
For more information or to participate in this workshop please contact Lance Ingwersen (
Cultural Brokers Workshop

Historical scholarship today is awash in concepts of cross-cultural exchange, including entangled history, cultural transfer, hybridization, circulation, and networks, even while earlier notions of cultural imperialism, hegemony, hierarchy, and resistance still pack a powerful scholarly punch. Part of our purpose is to take stock of what we might playfully dub a New New Cultural History, which consists not so much of interpretation in a quasi-anthropological mode as of tracking ideas, objects and practices on the move – Cultures in Motion, to invoke a recent collection of essays edited by Daniel Rodgers. Culture in this new (or new-ish) guise links together disparate communities, or survives, albeit in a changed form, after peaceful or violent encounters between unlike societies, or reproduces itself in emigrant or diasporic communities.  

Each of the organizers has worked on some aspect of cultures in motion. What we wish to do in this one-day workshop is find common ground for disparate fields of study to meet by identifying a relatively circumscribed piece of this larger picture, and that is the people (or agents, if you prefer) who made ideas, objects and practices so mobile. These are the cultural brokers of our title, and they range from concert impresarios to missionaries, teachers, soldiers, entrepreneurs, makers of devices, publishers of materials, and artists themselves. The specificity of this role—that of brokering a contact and/or exchange among separate cultural entities—combines with the generality of its usefulness.
The workshop is co-organized by Joy Calico (Blair School of Music and director of the Max Kade Center), Celia Applegate, Martin Rempe (History), Henry Gorman, and Lance Ingwersen. Invited guest Andrea Orzoff (New Mexico State University) will be a participant and will offer a public lecture in the afternoon on German musician emigres to Latin America in the 1930s and 1940s, sponsored by the Max Kade Center.

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