New Book | Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century

Posted in books by Editor on January 23, 2023

From Bloomsbury:

Wendy Bellion and Kristel Smentek, eds., Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century: Art, Mobility, and Change (London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2023), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-1350259034, $115. Also available as an ebook.

Things change. Broken and restored, reused and remade, objects transcend their earliest functions, locations, and appearances. While every era witnesses change, the eighteenth century experienced artistic, economic, and demographic transformations that exerted unique pressures on material cultures around the world. Locating material objects at the heart of such phenomena, Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century expands beyond Eurocentric perspectives to discover the mobile, transcultural nature of eighteenth-century art worlds. From porcelain to betel leaves, Chumash hats to natural history cabinets, this book examines how objects embody imperialism, knowledge, and resistance in various ways.

By embracing things both elite and everyday, this volume investigates physical and technological manipulations of objects while attending to the human agents who shaped them in an era of accelerating global contact and conquest. Featuring ten essays, the volume foregrounds diverse scholarly approaches to chart new directions for art history and cultural history. Ranging from California to China, Bengal to Britain, Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century illuminates the transformations within and between artistic media, follows natural and human-made things as they migrate across territories, and reveals how objects catalyzed change in the transoceanic worlds of the early modern period.

Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century is part of the Material Culture of Art and Design series, edited by Michael Yonan.

Wendy Bellion is Sewell C. Biggs Chair in American Art History and Associate Dean for the Humanities at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on North American art and the Atlantic World in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the author of Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011) and Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment (2019).

Kristel Smentek is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research engages eighteenth-century European graphic and decorative arts in their transcultural contexts. She is the author of Mariette and the Science of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Europe (2014), co-editor of Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment (2022), and co-curator of the accompanying exhibition at the Harvard Art Museums.


List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction, ‘Things Change’ — Wendy Bellion, University of Delaware and Kristel Smentek, MIT
1  ‘A Sort of Picture or Image of my Self’: Amoy Chinqua’s Almost Ancestral Portrait of Joseph Collet — Winnie Wong, University of California, Berkeley
2  Shooting for Freedom: Examining the Material World of Self-Emancipated Persons — Tiffany Momon, Sewanee: The University of the South
3  Something Old, Something New: Repurposing and the Production of Ephemeral Festival Architecture in Eighteenth-Century Paris — Matthew Gin, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
4  Botanical Fantasy in Silk: Transformations of a Rococo Floral Design from England to China — Mei Mei Rado, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5  Making Marble Edible: Madame de Pompadour, Friendship, and the Multiple Lives of Porcelain — Susan M. Wager, University of New Hampshire, Durham
6  The Sovereign Betel in Eighteenth-Century Bengal and Bihar — Zirwat Chowdhury, University of California, Los Angeles
7  Isaiah Thomas’s Stamp Acts at the Halifax Gazette: Printers and Tacit Protest in Revolutionary America — Jennifer Y. Chuong, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
8  Between Art and Nature: The Dauphin’s Treasure at the Royal Cabinet of Natural History in Madrid — Tara Zanardi, Hunter College, CUNY
9  California Indian Basket Weavers, Spanish Imperialism, and Eighteenth-Century Global Networks — Yve Chavez, University of California, Santa Cruz
10  British Prints between Caricature and Ethnography — Douglas Fordham, University of Virginia


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