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This past week I began the process of revising my undergraduate course in East Central European history. The first step in that process was a quick visit to the HABSBURG course syllabi page (http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~habsweb/syllabi/) to re-familiarize myself with how colleagues at other institutions were teaching their courses. As I moved from one syllabus to the next, I quickly realized that the thing I most wanted was not to be found there--help with how to integrate scholarship on material culture into a course that is currently heavy on the old stand-bys (nationalism, political developments, literature and the occasional example of fine art or music). While many of the almost 50 syllabi posted on our site include "culture" (typically literature, sometimes art and music), material culture is altogether absent. My next step was to turn to the HABSBURG discussion logs, which I searched using "material culture" as my key. Since the beginnings of HABSBURG more than 100 postings included both words, but only a tiny handful actually included mention of material culture as a category of historical analysis: two reviews (one of which was cross-posted from H-German) and two conference announcements (one in Poland and one in Wales). Clearly, those of us who are specialists in the field do not discuss material culture in this forum. Recent editions (especially volume XXXI) of the Austrian History Yearbook include essays that deal with material culture, but these few examples to not yet constitute an emerging scholarship. So, I turned to the Library of Congress catalog. Searching WorldCat and ArticleFirst for "Material Culture Eastern Europe," or "Material Culture Austria," I found four monographs, several exhibition catalogs, and one dissertation. The sum total of these searches is listed at the end of this message. Because the study of material culture plays such a prominent role in American historiography, I have to admit to being surprised and disappointed that my own field displays such a seeming lack of interest in the study of material culture/material life as a means for opening up the past to a different sort of inspection. A quotation by Fernand Braudel in the anthology _Material Life in America 1600-1800_ Robert Blair St. George ed. (1988) sums up the problem for the teacher. Braudel says "The mere smell of cooking can evoke an entire civilization." To be sure we can help our students to a deeper understanding of the world we attempt to evoke in the classroom with the well chosen image, artifact or musical selection--but without a scholarly apparatus for integrating research on material culture into the histories we construct, it seems to me that they will never be anything more than that--well chosen classroom examples. Were I an American historian I could assign any number of books or scholarly articles to my students. As a Central Europeanist, I can assign almost nothing, it seems. Therefore, I want to pose two questions for consideration: 1. Is the study of material culture more developed than is apparent from the obvious sources (OCLC, etc.)? And if so, why haven't we engaged in a more thorough discussion of material culture here on HABSBURG? 2. Assuming that the study of material culture is all but absent from our field, why would that be and what could be done to remedy this problem, if problem it is? -------------------------------------------------------- Sources located in the OCLC catalogs: Kelli Ann Costa, "Image brokering and the postmodern peasant: material culture and identity in the Stubaital" Dissertation, (1998) Ernst Bruckmüller; Peter Urbanitsch, Ostarrichi, Oesterreich, 996-1996 : Menschen, Mythen, Meilsteine: Oesterreichische Länderausstellung_ (1996) Reinhard Johler; Herbert Nikitsch, Post vom Schönen Oesterreich: eine ethnographische Recherche zur Gegenwart,_ (1996) Kurt Conrad, Die Landschaft als Spiegelbild der Volkskultur: Hausforschung, Heimatpflege, Naturschutz, Volkskunde in Salzburg, (1990) Viktor Herbert Pöttler, Alte Volksarchitektur aus der bäuerlichen Welt von einst,_ (1990) Reinhold Wagnleitner. _Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War_. Translated by Diana M. Wolf. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, (1994). (reviewed on H-German http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=habsburg&month=9503&week=e&msg=lD7rplDrj6r1gWECNhwANg&user=&pw=) Susan E. Reid and David Crowley eds. _Style and socialism: modernity and material culture in post-war Eastern Europe_ (Berg, 2000) Victor Buchli, _An archaeology of socialism_ (Berg, 1999) T. Mills Kelly HABSBURG Teaching Editor George Mason University http://chnm.gmu.edu/history/faculty/kelly