Investigating the ways in which individuals build and interpret their domestic spaces, panelists draw upon contemporary ethnographic fieldwork, historic preservation efforts, and archival research to question the meaning of "home" from the ground up.
From the perspective of American folklore studies, this panel investigates the ways in which individuals across the world build and interpret their domestic spaces. How do actual circumstances and ideal desires come together in the design, construction, and use of ordinary dwellings and landscapes? Exploring the reaches of the category "vernacular architecture"— the everyday structures and landscapes that we shape and that shape us in return — panelists draw upon contemporary ethnographic fieldwork, historic preservation efforts, and archival research to question the meaning of "home" from the ground up. Case studies emphasize the adaptation of home design and redefinition of "traditional" construction in the contexts of migration, socio-economic distress, and gentrification to demonstrate how varied notions and manifestations of "home" are necessary to mediate between individual will and social circumstance. Local histories and marginalized voices come to the fore as the physical spaces of family dwelling and community gathering are analyzed as objects of material culture, revealing builders' and dwellers' values, customs, and beliefs. This panel is sponsored by the American Folklore Society.