History through material culture is an excellent guide for students and researchers who wish to use objects as historical sources. Responding to the significant, scholarly interest in historical material culture studies, this book provides the first step-by-step guide to developing historical research based around objects. The book makes clear how students and researchers can use these rich material sources to make important, valuable and original contributions to history. Written by two experienced museum practitioners and historians, the book recognises the theoretical and practical challenges of this approach and offers clear advice on methods to get the best out of material culture research. With a focus on the early modern and modern periods, this book draws on examples from across the world and demonstrates how to use material culture to answer a range of enquiries, including social, economic, gender, cultural and global history.
Writing Material Culture History examines the methodologies currently used in the historical study of material culture. Touching on archaeology, anthropology, art history and literary studies, the book provides history students with a fundamental understanding of the relationship between artefacts and historical narratives. The role of museums, the impact of the digital age and the representations of objects in public history are just some of the issues addressed in a book that brings together distinguished scholars from around the world. This new edition includes: * A new wide-ranging introduction highlighting the role of material culture in the modern period and presenting recent contributions to the field. * A more balanced and easy-to-use structure, including 9 methodological chapters and 20 'object in focus' chapters consisting of case studies for classroom discussion. * 5 fresh 'object in focus' chapters showing greater engagement with 20th-century material culture, non-European artefacts (particularly in relation to issues of power, indigenity and repatriation of objects), architecture (with pieces on industrial heritage in Europe and on heritage destruction in China) and the definitions and limits of material culture as a discipline. * Expanded online resources to help students navigate the museums/institutions holding key artefacts. * Historiographical updates and revisions throughout the text. Focusing on the global dimension of material culture and bridging the gap between the early modern and modern periods, Writing Material Culture History is an essential tool for helping students understand the potential of objects to re-cast established historical narratives in new and exciting ways.
Writing Material Culture History examines the methodologies currently used in the historical study of material culture. Touching on archaeology, anthropology, art history and literary studies, the book provides history students with a fundamental understanding of the relationship between artefacts and historical narratives. The role of museums, the impact of the digital age and the representations of objects in public history are just some of the issues addressed in a book that brings together distinguished scholars from around the world.This new edition includes:* A new wide-ranging introduction highlighting the role of material culture in the modern period and presenting recent contributions to the field.* A more balanced and easy-to-use structure, including 9 methodological chapters and 20 'object in focus' chapters consisting of case studies for classroom discussion.* 5 fresh 'object in focus' chapters showing greater engagement with 20th century material culture, non-European artefacts (particularly in relation to issues of power, indigenity and repatriation of objects), architecture (with pieces on industrial heritage in Europe and on heritage destruction in China) and the definitions and limits of material culture as a discipline.* Expanded online resources to help students navigate the museums/institutions holding key artefacts.* Historiographical updates and revisions throughout the text.Focusing on the global dimension of material culture and bridging the gap between the early modern and modern periods, Writing Material Culture History is an essential tool for helping students understand the potential of objects to re-cast established historical narratives in new and exciting ways.
Focusing on the technoculture of everyday life, this book attempts to zero in on the simplicity and the habitual character of the interaction between humans and material objects, which is often assumed or taken for granted. Because objects are always meaningful in the pragmatic use to which they are directed, the material world of everyday life can be seen as a technoculture of its own - one made of behaviors as simple, and yet as significant, as using a lawnmower, or decorating one's body. In discussing the unique methodological components of the ethnography of the technoculture of everyday life, this book begins a dialogue on how we can examine - from the participants' perspective - the interconnections between social agents, their technological/material practices, their material objects or technics, and their social and material environment.
Traditionally, research on the history of Asian religions has been marked by a bias for literary evidence, privileging canonical texts penned in ‘classical’ languages. Not only has a focus on literary evidence shaped the dominant narratives about the religious histories of Asia, in both scholarship and popular culture, but it has contributed to the tendency to study different religious traditions in relative isolation from one another. Today, moreover, historical work is often based on modern textual editions and, increasingly, on electronic databases. What may be lost, in the process, is the visceral sense of the text as artifact – as a material object that formed part of a broader material culture, in which the boundaries between religious traditions were sometimes more fluid than canonical literature might suggest. This volume brings together specialists in a variety of Asian cultures to discuss the methodological challenges involved in integrating material evidence for the reconstruction of the religious histories of South, Southeast, Central, and East Asia. By means of specific ‘test cases,’ the volume explores the importance of considering material and literary evidence in concert. What untold stories do these sources help us to recover? How might they push us to reevaluate historical narratives traditionally told from literary sources? By addressing these questions from the perspectives of different subfields and religious traditions, contributors map out the challenges involved in interpreting different types of data, assessing the problems of interpretation distinct to specific types of material evidence (e.g., coins, temple art, manuscripts, donative inscriptions) and considering the issues raised by the different patterns in the preservation of such evidence in different locales. Special attention is paid to newly-discovered and neglected sources; to our evidence for trade, migration, and inter-regional cultural exchange; and to geographical locales that served as "contact zones" connecting cultures. In addition, the chapters in this volume represent the rich range of religious traditions across Asia – including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, and Chinese religions, as well as Islam and eastern Christianities.
This volume, a compilation of original papers written to celebrate the outstanding contributions of Jonathan Mark Kenoyer to the archaeology of South Asia over the past forty years, highlights recent developments in the archaeological research of ancient South Asia, with specific reference to the Indus Civilization.
Material culture surrounds us and yet is habitually overlooked. So integral is it to our everyday lives that we take it for granted. This attitude has also afflicted the academic analysis of material culture, although this is now beginning to change, with material culture recently emerging as a topic in its own right within the social sciences. Carl Knappett seeks to contribute to this emergent field by adopting a wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach that is rooted in archaeology and integrates anthropology, sociology, art history, semiotics, psychology, and cognitive science. His thesis is that humans both act and think through material culture; ways of knowing and ways of doing are ingrained within even the most mundane of objects. This requires that we adopt a relational perspective on material artifacts and human agents, as a means of characterizing their complex interdependencies. In order to illustrate the networks of meaning that result, Knappett discusses examples ranging from prehistoric Aegean ceramics to Zande hunting nets and contemporary art. Thinking Through Material Culture argues that, although material culture forms the bedrock of archaeology, the discipline has barely begun to address how fundamental artifacts are to human cognition and perception. This idea of codependency among mind, action, and matter opens the way for a novel and dynamic approach to all of material culture, both past and present.
Offering a bridge between fashion studies and cultural studies, this book is designed to provide a theoretical introduction to fashion and style which will meet the needs of both fashion and cultural studies students.
The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe marks the arrival of early modern material culture studies as a vibrant, fully-established field of multi-disciplinary research. The volume provides a rounded, accessible collection of work on the nature and significance of materiality in early modern Europe – a term that embraces a vast range of objects as well as addressing a wide variety of human interactions with their physical environments. This stimulating view of materiality is distinctive in asking questions about the whole material world as a context for lived experience, and the book considers material interactions at all social levels. There are 27 chapters by leading experts as well as 13 feature object studies to highlight specific items that have survived from this period (defined broadly as c.1500–c.1800). These contributions explore the things people acquired, owned, treasured, displayed and discarded, the spaces in which people used and thought about things, the social relationships which cluster around goods – between producers, vendors and consumers of various kinds – and the way knowledge travels around those circuits of connection. The content also engages with wider issues such as the relationship between public and private life, the changing connections between the sacred and the profane, or the effects of gender and social status upon lived experience. Constructed as an accessible, wide-ranging guide to research practice, the book describes and represents the methods which have been developed within various disciplines for analysing pre-modern material culture. It comprises four sections which open up the approaches of various disciplines to non-specialists: ‘Definitions, disciplines, new directions’, ‘Contexts and categories’, ‘Object studies’ and ‘Material culture in action’. This volume addresses the need for sustained, coherent comment on the state, breadth and potential of this lively new field, including the work of historians, art historians, museum curators, archaeologists, social scientists and literary scholars. It consolidates and communicates recent developments and considers how we might take forward a multi-disciplinary research agenda for the study of material culture in periods before the mass production of goods.
People live in a world surrounded by stuff. Yet few of us are taught to understand it or to think very deeply about it at all. "Material Culture" refers to the objects and artifacts that populate our environment that we can see and feel. It is through these objects and images of objects that people learn about and integrate themselves into the human community. Understanding Material Culture is an introduction to Material Literacy--the skill of being able to read and interpret material culture. It is a primer for understanding objects as the evidence of our way of life. The book explains the major theories, issues, and diverse viewpoints and practices of the field of material culture, and demonstrates how to use them through historical examples pulled from the vast collections of the Smithsonian. Perfect for students of history or museum studies, Understanding Material Culture is also helpful for anyone who's ever wondered what their stuff says about them.
This book addresses the issues of collecting, consuming, classifying and describing the curiosities, antiques and objets d'art that proliferated in French literary texts during the last decades of the nineteenth century. After Balzac made such issues significant in canonical literature, the Goncourt brothers, Huysmans, Mallarmé and Maupassant celebrated their golden age. Flaubert and Zola scorned them. Rachilde and Lorrain perverted them. Proust commemorated their last moments of glory. Focusing on the bibelot (the modern French term for knick-knack, curiosity or other collectible), Janell Watson shows how the sudden prominence given to curiosities and collecting in nineteenth-century literature signals a massive change in attitudes to the world of goods, which in turn restructured the literary text according to the practical logic of daily life, calling into question established scholarly notions of order. Her study makes an important contribution to the literary history of material culture.