The Material Culture and Heritage Studies Laboratory (MCHSL) is home for a research group led by Jason Baird Jackson, Ruth N. Halls Professor of Folklore Studies and Anthropology at Indiana University. Based in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, the Laboratory welcomes students and collaborators from Indiana University's programs in folklore studies, cultural anthropology, and curatorship.
The laboratory is focused on projects that combine ethnographic, historical, and museum-based research methods for the study of material culture and for conceptual work related to cultural heritage, including related issues such as cultural property, appropriation, and revitalization. Current research collaborations are focused in the American South and in Southwest China, but students and others working in the lab have the option of pursuing their own parallel projects in other cultural, historical, and geographic contexts.
Cultural diversity, including norms and forms of collaboration across difference, is a fundamental research concern of the laboratory and thus, in its work, diversity of background and perspective are particularly valued by laboratory members.
Partnership and collaboration with Native North American communities has been fundamental to Jason Jackson's work since its beginning and Indigenous communities, particularly those of Eastern North America, but also from the minority nationalities of Southwest China, are central to the laboratory's work and concerns. In this context, the laboratory acknowledges that Indiana University was established on Indigenous land and benefitted, and still benefits, from native resources. We recognize the Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Shawnee people as past, present, and future caretakers of this land and we are committed to fostering recognition of the sovereignty of their national governments.