Essays On Material Culture

History From Things: Essays on Material Culture

by Brand: Smithsonian Books

Price: $19.95

   History from Things explores the many ways objects—defined broadly to range from Chippendale tables and Italian Renaissance pottery to seventeenth-century parks and a New England cemetery—can reconstruct and help reinterpret the past. Eighteen essays describe how to “read” artifacts, how to “listen to” landscapes and locations, and how to apply methods and theories to historical inquiry that have previously belonged solely to archaeologists, anthropologists, art historians, and conservation scientists.

   Spanning vast time periods, geographical locations, and academic disciplines, History from Things leaps the boundaries between fields that use material evidence to understand the past. The book expands and redirects the study of material culture—an emerging field now building a common base of theory and a shared intellectual agenda.

ISBN 10: 1560986131

ISBN 13: 9781560986133

Author Information

Steven Lubar and W. David Kingery
STEVEN LUBAR is curator of engineering and industry at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. W. DAVID KINGERY is Regents Professor of Anthropology and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Arizona.

Review Quotes

Readers should find in History from Things much to provoke thinking about material culture and a stimulus to the type of interdisciplinary communication that the field of material culture studies has tried to offer.

—Journal of American History

History from Things reminds us of the intellectual power of artifact analysis. . . . [It] is a useful book for beginning and experienced teachers of social studies, at every grade level, on the ways to use material culture to better understand the past and as routes to reflect on the more abstract features of culture.

—Social Education

Eighteen essays discuss the use of artifacts and material culture evidence in broadening historical understanding of the past. Contributors come from a wide array of backgrounds, including art history, anthropology, archaeology, and the history of technology, and the artifacts examined range from Chinese bronzes to the cultural landscape of eighteenth-century English gardens and from New England cemeteries to a twentiety-century steam locomotive. Individually these essays push out the boundaries of material culture study, while collectively they transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.

—Science, Technology, and Society

More from Museum Studies

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schema:description "The truth of material culture : history or fiction? / Jules David Prown -- Why we need things / Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -- Objects as instruments, objects as signs / Jacques Maquet -- Some matters of substance / Robert Friedel -- The ancestry of Chinese bronze vessels / Jessica Rawson -- The interpretation of artifacts in the history of technology / Robert B. Gordon -- Gardens and society in eighteenth-century England / Thomas Williamson -- Common landscapes as historic documents / Peirce Lewis -- The New England cemetery as a cultural landscape / Ian W. Brown -- Artifacts as expressions of society and culture : subversive genealogy and the value of history / Mark P. Leone and Barbara J. Little -- Why take a behavioral approach to folk objects? / Michael Owen Jones -- Machine politics : the political construction of technological artifacts / Steven Lubar."@en ;
schema:description "Technological systems and some implications with regard to continuity and change / W. David Kingery -- Replication techniques in eastern Zhou bronze casting / Robert W. Bagley -- Technological styles : transforming a natural material into a cultural object / Rita P. Wright -- The biography of an object : the intercultural style vessels of the Third Millennium B.C. / C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky -- The sign of the object / John Dixon Hunt."@en ;
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