Chapter four highlights a variety of advanced intellectuals whose challenge of gender roles paved the way to modern sexual culture. It deals with women’s rights to birth control, a healthy sexuality, divorce, and underlines the need for a new code of manners between the sexes. It also reveals the importance of women’s social roles for the Church, and presents new models of fatherhood.
Chapter three looks at a range of exponents of women’s civil rights from liberal, socialist, eugenics, and unitarian quarters , as well as at the rationale behind their arguments. The texts promote mothers’, wives’, and women workers’ rights. They also defend women’s right to vote.
The afterword draws together the key messages of the book, reiterating the strategies for researchers to undertake effective work in this field. It also conveys the significance of this field and how historical material culture studies are capable of shaping the wider field of history in exciting ways in years to come
There are many different ways of accessing information about material culture through observation, examination and other forms of investigation. This chapter works through the main methods of analysis for working with objects. Here, the opportunities and constraints of examining objects in person are also discussed. The chapter is arranged in sections, the first dealing with methods of investigating objects physically, the second section considers contextual research and the last section discusses ways to further extend the research process on the basis of the first two modes of analysis.
This chapter provides an overview of the origins of material culture studies and the disciplinary specialisms that have had the strongest bearing on their development. The theoretical underpinning of material culture studies will be elucidated through a clear and concise discussion of the work of philosophers and social theorists – making clear that 'things' have agency. The chapter demonstrates that by viewing the objects of the past as inanimate and inactive as compared with the living, breathing humans who made, exchanged, and used them - researchers can miss the dynamism of the object-person interactions that took place many decades or centuries ago. Moving on from the theoretical principles that have shaped the study of material things, the chapter discusses the circumstances that brought about historical material culture studies. It also considers the particular place of historical work within this context and the many potentialities material culture history offers for future research.
Understanding museum collections and other repositories
Leonie Hannan and Sarah Longair
This chapter focuses on the over-arching methodology of a research project, which guides the work that is conducted in a museum, library or archive. Using examples of contemporary historical scholarship, the choices researchers make about their primary sources, methods of analysis and theoretical frameworks are unpacked case by case. This chapter also deals with the difficulties of working on material culture that no longer survives, a challenge common to historical studies.
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.
The introduction makes the case for historians making use of material culture, not only as a primary source, but as a catalyst for developing new lines of enquiry. This chapter sets the context of the book by describing how the academic landscape in the last twenty years has drawn museums and historians ever closer. It also defines the scope of ‘material culture’ for this book and explore common definitions in the interdisciplinary field of material culture studies. Finally, the introduction provides a summary of the contents of the chapters and suggestions for how to get the best out of the research guide