Urban Readers Series: Shannon Lee Dawdy - "Patina" - Kate Ingold

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

The fourth event in the Urban Readers Series will feature Shannon Lee Dawdy, who will discuss Patina: A Profane Archaeology on Tuesday, November 29 with Kate Ingold.

The Urban Readers Series invites the curious public to meet the university's faculty, staff, and alumni who think and write about cities. The series is sponsored by UChicago Urban, the university's commitment to enhancing urban life and bringing our work into conversation with the public.

At the Co-op


About the book: When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the world reacted with shock on seeing residents of this distinctive city left abandoned to the floodwaters. After the last rescue was completed, a new worry arose—that New Orleans’s unique historic fabric sat in ruins, and we had lost one of the most charming old cities of the New World.
In Patina, anthropologist Shannon Lee Dawdy examines what was lost and found through the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Tracking the rich history and unique physicality of New Orleans, she explains how it came to adopt the nickname “the antique city.” With innovative applications of thing theory, Patina studies the influence of specific items—such as souvenirs, heirlooms, and Hurricane Katrina ruins—to explore how the city’s residents use material objects to comprehend time, history, and their connection to one another. A leading figure in archaeology of the contemporary, Dawdy draws on material evidence, archival and literary texts, and dozens of post-Katrina interviews to explore how the patina aesthetic informs a trenchant political critique. An intriguing study of the power of everyday objects, Patina demonstrates how sharing in the care of a historic landscape can unite a city’s population—despite extreme divisions of class and race—and inspire civil camaraderie based on a nostalgia that offers not a return to the past but an alternative future.

About the author: Shannon Lee Dawdy is an anthropologist whose fieldwork combines archaeological, archival, and ethnographic methods with a focus on the U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, particularly through her long-term field site of New Orleans. Her work concerns how landscapes and material objects mediate human relationships. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of Chicago and a recent MacArthur Fellow.

About the interlocutor: Kate Ingold is a visual artist and poet. She received her BA in English-Rhetoric with a minor in Visual Art from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her MFA in Studio Writing (Image/Text) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Finalist Award in 2009, the Poetry Society of America's National Chapbook Fellowship in 2007, and a CAAP Grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in 2001. Ingold's poetry chapbook, Dream of Water, was published by the Poetry Society of America in 2008. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Fisher Museum of Art and the Illinois State Museum. She was represented by the Roy Boyd Gallery in Chicago until its closing in fall 2014.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637