This Terra Foundation-supported conference is being organized by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and the Free Library of Philadelphia. It will coincide with two exhibitions at the PMA and the Free Library that will feature the genre of hand-decorated Pennsylvania German-language documents, manuscripts, broadsides, and printed books and drawings known as fraktur. Fraktur is often considered primarily as a form of folk art divorced from broader artistic, cultural, and historical phenomena; moreover, the German-speaking people in Pennsylvania who produced fraktur are often understood as a distinctive and isolated group. The conference will encourage efforts to place Pennsylvania Germans in broader contexts and to see their fraktur as a point of entry for a much broader understanding of the significance of art and culture.
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