How do playthings shape shared imaginations and social possibilities?
"In the toy, as in no other site, can we grasp the temporality of history in its pure differential and qualitative value." (Agamben, In Playland) This is a panel about playing with things. It asks what kinds of sociality and imagination emerge in our playful engagements with objects (whether explicitly intended as toys or not). We will explore the communalizing and world-making (or breaking) power of mundane things, and ask how playthings bring people together, drive them apart, or bring collective meanings or conflicts into being. We keep our definition of "playthings" as broad as possible: it might include miniatures, dolls, repurposed utensils, digital toys, simulations, found objects, fidget spinners, or anything else that enables play. Questions we ask include: how do playthings make new social configurations or shared imaginations possible? Are playthings tools of nostalgic stereotyping, maintain traditions, or can they help us envisage and build other futures or other worlds? What do we actually do when we play with things, and what do they do with us? And how do the material and formal qualities of our playthings shape the possibilities of play itself?