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Joanne Hollows

6 Consumption and material culture Part II of this book raised questions about consumption by challenging the view that there is a single meaning of a text that is inscribed in it through the production process. It demonstrated a shift in thinking about film, literature and media forms which not only raised questions about how texts are capable of producing a range of meanings, but also highlighted the importance of thinking about how the same text can be interpreted and used in different ways. This, it was argued, is not to claim that the consumer is all

in Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture

History through material culture provides a practical introduction for researchers who wish to use objects and material culture as primary sources for the study of the past. The book focuses primarily on the period 1500 to the present day, but the principles put forward are equally applicable to studies of earlier historical eras. Histories of the last five centuries have been driven to a remarkable extent by textual records and it is with this in mind that History through material culture offers researchers a step-by-step guide to approaching the material evidence that survives from this period. Anticipating that many researchers will feel under-skilled or lacking in confidence in tackling artefacts of the past, the book traces the process of research from the framing of research questions through to the writing up of findings – giving particular attention to the ways in which objects can be located, accessed and understood. This practical guidance is augmented by the use of examples of seminal and contemporary scholarship in this interdisciplinary field, so that readers can see how particular approaches to sources have been used to develop historical narratives and arguments. It is written in accessible and jargon-free language with clear explanations of more complex discourses. In this way, the book demystifies both the process of researching objects and the way research practice relates to published scholarship.

Bronwen Everill

‘creole elite’ who believed they would benefit from a shared, non-ethnic British cultural identity: all of these challenge the image of a British world made up exclusively of the British diaspora. 5 It is clear that empires have a much wider impact on material culture than an examination of exclusively white settler colonies would suggest. The ‘footprint’ of empire is often seen in the physical landscape as

in The cultural construction of the British world
Valérie Leclercq
and
Veronique Deblon

commissioned, fabricated, purchased, or used them and, by extension, the beliefs of the larger society’. 4 The case of the bedside tables exemplifies how material culture can add layers and nuance to the history of medical institutions. The ways pieces of furniture, domestic objects, scientific instruments and architectural environments are built, used and adapted give us insight on everyday practices

in Medical histories of Belgium
Author:

Anglo-Saxon ‘things’ could talk. Nonhuman voices leap out from the Exeter Book Riddles, telling us how they were made or how they behave. In The Husband’s Message, runic letters are borne and a first-person speech is delivered by some kind of wooden artefact. Readers of The Dream of the Rood will come across a tree possessing the voice of a dreaming human in order to talk about its own history as a gallows and a rood. The Franks Casket is a box of bone that alludes to its former fate as a whale that swam aground onto the shingle, and the Ruthwell monument is a stone column that speaks as if it were living wood, or a wounded body.

This book uncovers the voice and agency that these nonhuman things have across Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture. It makes a new contribution to ‘thing theory’ and rethinks conventional divisions between animate human subjects and inanimate nonhuman objects in the early Middle Ages. Anglo-Saxon writers and craftsmen describe artefacts and animals through riddling forms or enigmatic language, balancing an attempt to speak and listen to things with an understanding that these nonhumans often elude, defy and withdraw from us. The active role that things have in the early medieval world is also linked to the Germanic origins of the word, where a þing is a kind of assembly, with the ability to draw together other elements, creating assemblages in which human and nonhuman forces combine. Anglo-Saxon things teach us to rethink the concept of voice as a quality that is not simply imposed upon nonhumans but which inheres in their ways of existing and being in the world; they teach us to rethink the concept of agency as arising from within groupings of diverse elements, rather than always emerging from human actors alone.

Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author:

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

Antonius C. G. M. Robben

Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than 300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition, collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that impacted on the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Embodiment, history and archaeology in industrialising England, 1700–1850

The Material Body exploits the possibilities of studying the material body in the past primarily through the sources and approaches of archaeology, history and material culture studies. Together, these seven chapters draw upon collections of human remains, material culture and documentary evidence from Britain during the period 1700–1850; major themes are gender, class, age, disability and maternity. Some contributions are co-authored by a historian and archaeologist; others are single authored. But each chapter explores the lived experiences of the material body drawing on disciplines which share an interest in the material or embodied turn. The volume demonstrates new interdisciplinary ways of looking at experiences of the body. It brings together archaeological and historical data to reconstruct embodied experiences and represents the first collection of genuinely collaborative scholarship by historians and archaeologists.

Bodies, emotion, and material culture
Author:

Manliness in Britain offers a new account of masculinity in the long nineteenth century: more corporeal and material, more emotional, more cross-class, and less heteronormative than other studies. Using diverse textual, visual, and material culture sources, it shows that masculinities were produced and disseminated through men’s bodies, very often working-class ones, and the emotions and material culture associated with them. It analyses idealised men who stimulated desire and admiration, including virile boxers, soldiers, sailors, and blacksmiths, brave firemen, and noble industrial workers. Also investigated are unmanly men, such as drunkards, wife beaters, and masturbators, who elicited disgust and aversion. The book disrupts the chronology of nineteenth-century masculinities, since it stretches from the ages of feeling, revolution, and reform, to those of militarism, imperialism, representative democracy, and mass media. It also queers these histories, by recognising that male and female desire for idealised male bodies and the gender attributes they embodied was integral to the success of manliness. Imagined working-class men and their materiality were central to broader ideas of manliness and unmanliness. They not only offered didactic lessons for the working classes and made the labouring ranks appear less threatening, they provide insights into the production of middle-class men’s identities. Overall, it is shown that this melding of bodies, emotions, and material culture created emotionalised bodies and objects, which facilitated the conveying, reproducing, and fixing of manliness in society. As such, the book will be vital for students and academics of the history of bodies, emotions, gender, and material culture.

Preserving and reinventing traditions of learning in the Middle Ages

This edited collection explores how knowledge was preserved and reinvented in the Middle Ages. Unlike previous publications, which are predominantly focused either on a specific historical period or on precise cultural and historical events, this volume, which includes essays spanning from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, is intended to eschew traditional categorisations of periodisation and disciplines and to enable the establishment of connections and cross-sections between different departments of knowledge, including the history of science (computus, prognostication), the history of art, literature, theology (homilies, prayers, hagiography, contemplative texts), music, historiography and geography. As suggested by its title, the collection does not pretend to aim at inclusiveness or comprehensiveness but is intended to highlight suggestive strands of what is a very wide topic. The chapters in this volume are grouped into four sections: I, Anthologies of Knowledge; II Transmission of Christian Traditions; III, Past and Present; and IV, Knowledge and Materiality, which are intended to provide the reader with a further thematic framework for approaching aspects of knowledge. Aspects of knowledge is mainly aimed to an academic readership, including advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, and specialists of medieval literature, history of science, history of knowledge, history, geography, theology, music, philosophy, intellectual history, history of the language and material culture.