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Studying Material Culture
Age of Homespun by
Call Number: F8 .U47 2001
Publication Date: 2001-10-30
Using objects that Americans have saved through the centuries and stories they have passed along, as well as histories teased from documents, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich chronicles the production of cloth--and of history--in early America. Under the singular and brilliant lens that Ulrich brings to this study, ordinary household goods--Indian baskets, spinning wheels, a chimneypiece, a cupboard, a niddy-noddy, bed coverings, silk embroidery, a pocketbook, a linen tablecloth, a coverlet and a rose blanket, and an unfinished stocking--provide the key to a transformed understanding of cultural encounter, frontier war, Revolutionary politics, international commerce, and early industrialization in America. We discover how ideas about cloth and clothing affected relations between English settlers and their Algonkian neighbors. We see how an English production system based on a clear division of labor—men doing the weaving and women the spinning--broke down in the colonial setting, becoming first marginalized, then feminized, then politicized, and how the new system both prepared the way for and was sustained by machine-powered spinning. Pulling these divergent threads together into a rich and revealing tapestry of --the age of homespun,--Ulrich demonstrates how ordinary objects reveal larger economic and social structures, and, in particular, how early Americans and their descendants made, used, sold, and saved textiles in order to assert identities, shape relationships, and create history.
American Artifacts by
Call Number: E161 .A35 2000
Publication Date: 2000-10-31
When defining culture, one must indeed take into account even the minutest of details. What of a lighter, for example, or a telephone? The essays in this new collection examine just that. The contributors pose not only a historical, pragmatic use for the items, but also delve into more imaginative aspects of what defines us as Americans. Both the lighter and the telephone are investigated, as well as how the lava lamp represents sixties counterculture and containment. The late nineteenth-century corset is discussed as an embodiment of womanhood, and an Amish quilt is used as an illustration of cultural continuity. These are just a few of the artifacts discussed. Scholars will be intrigued by the historical interpretations that contributors proposed concerning a teapot, card table, and locket; students will not only find merit in the expositions, but also by learning from the models how such interpretation can be carried out. This collection helps us understand that very thing that makes us who we are. Viewing these objects from both our past and our present, we can begin to define what it is to be American.
Food and Material Culture by
Call Number: TX656 .O94 2013
Publication Date: 2014-10-10
Topics covered by the papers include: Aesthetics and politics of the kitchen in fascist Italy, The bamboo tea whisk in Japanese tea culture, Cooking under fire, 1914-1918, Sugar sculpture in Italian court banquets, Mongolian milk spoons, Perfuming the table in old Baghdad.
The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies by
Call Number: GN406 .O97 2018
Publication Date: 2018-10-16
The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies introduces and reviews current thinking in the interdisciplinary field of material culture studies. Drawing together approaches from archaeology, anthropology, geography, and Science and Technology Studies, through twenty-eight speciallycommissioned essays by leading international researchers, the volume explores contemporary issues and debates in a series of themed sections - Disciplinary Perspectives, Material Practices, Objects and Humans, Landscapes and the Built Environment, and Studying Particular Things. From Coca-Cola,chimpanzees, artworks, and ceramics, to museums, cities, human bodies, and magical objects, the Handbook is an essential resource for anyone with an interest in materiality and the place of material things in human life, both past and present. A comprehensive bibliography enhances its usefulnessboth as a research tool and as a classroom text.
Tangible Things by
Call Number: GN406 .U57 2015
Publication Date: 2015-03-11
In a world obsessed with the virtual, tangible things are once again making history. Tangible Things invites readers to look closely at the things around them, ordinary things like the food on their plate and extraordinary things like the transit of planets across the sky. It argues that almost any material thing, when examined closely, can be a link between present and past. The authors of this book pulled an astonishing array of materials out of storage--from a pencil manufactured by Henry David Thoreau to a bracelet made from iridescent beetles--in a wide range of Harvard University collections to mount an innovative exhibition alongside a new general education course. The exhibition challenged the rigid distinctions between history, anthropology, science, and the arts. It showed that object-centered inquiry inevitably leads to a questioning of categories within and beyond history. Tangible Things is both an introduction to the range and scope of Harvard's remarkable collections and an invitation to reassess collections of all sorts, including those that reside in the bottom drawers or attics of people's houses. It interrogates the nineteenth-century categories that still divide art museums from science museums and historical collections from anthropological displays and that assume history is made only from written documents. Although it builds on a larger discussion among specialists, it makes its arguments through case studies, hoping to simultaneously entertain and inspire. The twenty case studies take us from the Galapagos Islands to India and from a third-century Egyptian papyrus fragment to a board game based on the twentieth-century comic strip "Dagwood and Blondie." A companion website catalogs the more than two hundred objects in the original exhibition and suggests ways in which the principles outlined in the book might change the way people understand the tangible things that surround them.
Identifying Kitchen Tools
Other Resources - 20th century
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