New Book | The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture

Posted in books by Editor on November 9, 2021

From Oxford UP:

Ivan Gaskell and Sarah Anne Carter, eds., The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), 680 pages, ISBN: 978-0199341764, $150.

The past has left a huge variety of traces in material form. If historians could figure out how to make use of them to create accounts of the past, a far greater range of histories would be available than if historians were to rely on written sources alone. People who do not appear in writings could come into focus; as could the concerns of people that have escaped writing but whose material things belie their desires and actions. This book explores various ways in which aspects of the past of peoples in many times and places otherwise inaccessible can come alive to the material culture historian. It is divided into five thematic sections that address history, material culture, and—respectively—cognition, technology, symbolism, social distinction, and memory. It does so by means of six individually authored case studies in each section that range from pins to pearls, Paleolithic to Punk.

Ivan Gaskell is Professor of Cultural History and Museum Studies at Bard Graduate Center, New York City. Sarah Anne Carter is Visiting Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture, and Visiting Assistant Professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


List of Contributors

Introduction: Why History and Material Culture?

I  History, Material Culture, and Cognition
• Words or Things in American History? — Steven Conn
• Artifacts and Their Functions — A. W. Eaton
• Mastery, Artifice, and the Natural Order: A Jewel from the Early Modern Pearl Industry — Mónica Domínguez Torres
• Food and Cognition: Henry Norwood’s A Voyage to Virginia — Bernard L. Herman
• On Pins and Needles: Straight Pins, Safety Pins, and Spectacularity — Amber Jamilla Musser
• Mind, Time, and Material Engagement — Lambros Malafouris and Chris Gosden

II  History, Material Culture, and Technology
• Material Time — John Robb
• Remaking the Kitchen, 1800–1850 — J. Ritchie Garrison
• Boston Electric: Science by ‘Mail Order’ and Bricolage at Colonial Harvard — Sara J. Schechner
• Making Knowledge Claims in the Eighteenth-Century British Museum — Ivan Gaskell
• The Ever-Changing Technology and Significance of Silk on the Silk Road — Zhao Feng
• Science, Play, and the Material Culture of Twentieth-Century American Boyhood — Rebecca Onion

III  History, Material Culture, and the Symbolic
• The Sensory Web of Vision: Enchantment and Agency in Religious Material Culture — David Morgan
• Sensiotics, or the Study of the Senses in Material Culture and History in Africa and Beyond — Henry John Drewal
• The Numinous Body and the Symbolism of Human Remains — Christopher Allison
• Symbolic Things and Social Performance: Christmas Nativity Scenes in Late Nineteenth-Century Santiago de Chile — Olaya Sanfuentes
• Heritage Religion and the Mormons — Colleen McDannell
• From Confiscation to Collection: The Objects of China’s Cultural Revolution — Denise Y. Ho

IV  History, Material Culture, and Social Distinction
• Persons and Things in Marseille and Lucca, 1300–1450 — Daniel Lord Smail
• Cloth and the Rituals of Encounter in La Florida: Weaving and Unraveling the Code — Laura Johnson
• Street ‘Luxuries’: Food Hawking in Early Modern Rome — Melissa Calaresu
• Ebony and Ivory: Pianos, People, Property, and Freedom on the Plantation, 1861–1870 — Dana E. Byrd
• The Material Culture of Furniture Production in the British Colonies — Edward S. Cooke Jr.
• Material Culture, Museums, and the Creation of Multiple Meanings — Neil G. W. Curtis

V  History, Material Culture, and Memory
• Chronology and Time: Northern European Coastal Settlements and Societies, c. 500–1050 — Christopher Loveluck
• Materialities in the Making of World Histories: South Asia and the South Pacific — Sujit Sivasundaram
• Mapping History in Clay and Skin: Strategies for Remembrance among Ga’ anda of Northeastern Nigeria — Marla C. Berns
• Remember Me: Sensibility and the Sacred in Early Mormonism — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
• Housing History: The Colonial Revival as Consumer Culture — Thomas Denenberg
• Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object — Catherine L. Whalen

Conclusion: The Meaning of Things


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