Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. iii-vii

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Series Editor’s Preface

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pp. ix-x

With this volume, the full scope of our ambitions for this book series is on view. Containing twenty-three contributions, ranging across the x, y, and z axes of time, space and discipline, what the reader encounters here is a collective project—not merely a collection of essays, but a statement about how scholars from different fields and continents of ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I first met Sabine MacCormack when she chaired a search committee for a job I did not get. She sent me Religion in the Andes with the inscription, “Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.” The next time I saw her, as I was going off for a year’s fellowship, she told me that I should return having written the kind of book I could not have written before. Both ...

Contents

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pp. xii-xv

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Introduction: The Culture of the Hand

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pp. 1-29

This is dazzling. But Rilke is not casting about for a metonymic characterization of the relationship between “hands” and “wholes.” No, he is on to something else. “Hands,” he continues, “are a complicated organism, a delta in which much life from distant sources flows together and is poured into the great stream of action.” For him, hands are real, and ...

Part 1. Art’s Challenge

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Chapter One – Design History and the Decorative Arts

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pp. 33-38

I’d like to begin with two premises. The first is that decorative art history, as a way of doing design history, is deeply out of fashion. The second is For the last twenty years or so, the general feeling among historians with an interest in objects has been that decorative art is a dream, and that one of our main objectives should be to wake up from that dream. ...

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Chapter Two – The Materiality of Art

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pp. 39-44

Works of art are enrolled by historians for their capacity to evoke the material world of the past in two ways: as illustrations that offer a filtered reconstruction of a fragment of that lost world, and as objects counting among the most precious remains left to behold and study. Increasingly, they are marshaled both as articulate images of that objectified world ...

Part 2. The Place of the Material

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Chapter Three – Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects

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pp. 47-58

For some time now, scholarship in the humanities and the social sciences has seemed to be traversing a mountainside, zigzagging, one turn after the other. We are, at the moment, well engaged in the material turn, and it is tempting, in the sequential logic of such a road, to consider that taking this particular turn puts us some distance from its ...

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Chapter Four – Museum Display, an Algonquian Bow, and the Ship of Theseus

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pp. 59-73

In 2008, a new long- term exhibit opened in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University.1 Named Re-View, it draws on all parts of the museum’s collection. This highly selective presentation of the museum’s holdings is to be on view in successive versions while the neighboring Quincy Street building that had housed the Fogg Art Museum since ...

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Chapter Five – Cultural Histories of the Material World: Whose Material World?

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pp. 74-80

Let me begin with a story about my friend Inés. She was born in the Andean puna1 high above the tree line, in an adobe house with a thatched roof. Her first language is Quechua, which she now teaches at the University of Notre Dame. Her second language is Spanish, learnt at secondary school. The school was three-days’ walk away from where ...

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Chapter Six – The History of Facebook

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pp. 81-91

In the introduction to this volume, Peter N. Miller eloquently argues for three things: a respect for the culture of the hand, a respect for material culture, and a respect for cultural history. To contribute a chapter about a woman using Facebook in Trinidad1 looks, at first, like some absurd misunderstanding that has gone topsy-turvy into the diametric opposite ...

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Chapter Seven – Dirty, Pretty Things: On Archaeology and Prehistoric Materialities

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pp. 92-107

Looking over the exciting new initiatives and publications devoted to objects of late, a central question remains unanswered for me: why has archaeology—the study of the human past through its material remains—been largely omitted from a new canon of materiality studies? In this new wave of writing you are more likely to find literary theorists, ...

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Chapter Eight – Archaeology and Design History: A Thesis and Nine Theses

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pp. 108-116

Archaeologists research design and design history, but their work is rarely described this way. To understand archaeology’s relationship with design, one should first lay aside those identifications of archaeology with methodology and technique, with survey and excavation, with work in the finds lab. Archaeologists do, of course, practice fieldwork and ...

Part 3. Experience and Material

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Chapter Nine – Swelling Toads, Translation, and the Paradox of the Concrete

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pp. 119-133

The charge that lies at the heart of our enterprise contends, “His-torically oriented scholars are finding in the physical embodiments of knowledge new questions and new perspectives from which to address seemingly ‘closed,’ or at least familiar, issues.” Materiality, embodiment, epistemology. Even as we embrace the simultaneity of things as subject ...

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Chapter Ten – Materiality and Cultural Translation: Indigenous Arts, Colonial Exchange, and Postcolonial Perspectives

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pp. 134-143

In 1992, an eighty-four-year-old Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) woman named Madeleine Katt Theriault published her autobiography, From Moose to Moosehide. She narrated a life whose first three decades were lived ac-cording to a centuries- old pattern of movement across the lands of northern Ontario. Most things people needed came from the lakes and ...

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Chapter Eleven – The Antiquarian, the Collector, and the Cultural History of the Material World – Alain Schnapp

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pp. 144-150

The notion of a cultural history of the material world is, without doubt, a sound strategy to avoid the contrived and problematic separations between disciplines, and thus manage the space between archaeology, art history, and social history. Those of my generation who had the opportunity to engage l’école des Annales have seen the value of an interdisciplinary ...

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Chapter Twelve – Mountain as Material: Landscape Inscriptions in China

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pp. 151-164

“Cultural Histories of the Material World,” as a line of inquiry, holds out the promise of innovative scholarship in which artifacts of all kinds—everything from portraits to pencil sharpeners—will be the shared focus of various branches of the humanities. For art historians, the word “material” has special resonance, as generally the first thing we consider in ...

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Chapter Thirteen – Objects and History

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pp. 165-171

The place of material culture in relation to the writing of history has always been fraught. We know that Gibbon was a serious Grand Tourist, who knew his honored objects as well as the next man—in fact, probably rather better—but very few objects, most notably the Arch of Constantine, made it into his Decline and Fall.1 And when the arch got there, the ...

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Chapter Fourteen – Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman

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pp. 172-186

In an imaginary stroll through the streets of Rome, while looking for new things (res, which usually signifies an object, but could also be understood as matter or material), the bishop and poet Marbod of Rennes (1035–1123) reveals a hitherto concealed aspect of the early twelfth-century attitude toward the material world. A newly purchased vase was ...

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Chapter Fifteen – Materialities of Culture – Bill Brown

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pp. 187-193

It seems to be a propitious time for a monograph series to unfold under the rubric of “The Cultural History of the Material World.” Several disciplines—history, art history, the history of science and science studies, literary studies, anthropology, political science, media studies, even philosophy—these have taken a “material turn” of one sort or ...

Part 4. Future Histories

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Chapter Sixteen: Toward a Cultural History of the Material World

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pp. 197-203

The best contribution I can make to this project is to offer a rationalized prospectus of the book I am currently writing, and to sketch in brief its concern with how, within literary studies, we might newly address the material world. I know next to nothing about the discipline and traditions of cultural history, so excuse myself from that part of our task—although ...

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Chapter Seventeen: Thoughts on Cultural Histories of the Material World –

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pp. 204-209

As a scholar trained in the history of modern art, I have worked primarily on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe. More specifically, I have focused, in turn, on the art, architecture and design of the Dutch De Stijl movement, modernism and the decorative arts in France between 1895 and 1925, and the conjunction of art and ...

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Chapter Eighteen – The History of Science as a Cultural History of the Material World

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pp. 210-225

One of the most powerful manifestations of human culture today is the combination of science and technology that has come to be codified in the natural sciences.1 This manner of human engagement with nature has brought into being structures and systems of knowledge, belief, education, and of communities, and has come to provide a means of ...

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Chapter Nineteen – Reflecting on Recipes

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pp. 226-232

Among the most famous recipes in English literature is that found in act 4, scene 1 of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. Three witches circle a cauldron as they add a series of ingredients. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, ...

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Chapter Twenty: Music in the Material World: Cultural Traces and Historical Cases

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pp. 233-239

Played by material instruments, sung by voices emanating from bodies, heard live in specially constructed rooms or acousmatically through speakers, music fills a span of time and then vanishes, leaving only intangible traces on its shaken and stirred auditors. If nearly every way we can describe music is metaphorical—the height of pitch, the thickness ...

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Chapter Twenty-One: A Cultural History of the Material World of Islam

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pp. 240-248

I am not quite sure what a cultural history of the material world is, but as a historian of Islamic art I am taking it to mean how studying the things men and women have made might tell us something about the shape of the times in which they were made, and how the activities and institutions associated with these things might have—or have not—changed ...

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Twenty-Two - Franz Kugler and the Concept of World Art History

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pp. 249-262

The art historian Franz Kugler had an astonishing career. In 1831, he earned his doctorate at the University of Berlin with the theme of medieval book illuminations; his habilitation followed three years later with writings on the architecture of the Middle Ages, Islam, the Egyptians, and India.1 Kugler had thereby completed his habilitation at the age of ...

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Chapter Twenty-Three – The Missing Link: “Antiquarianism,”“Material Culture,” and “Cultural Science” in the Work of G. F. Klemm

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pp. 263-282

Gustav Friedrich Klemm (1802–1867) is well and truly forgotten. The last stand-alone piece devoted to him made him into a prophet of Nazi racial theories and was published in a volume of essays cheerfully entitled Kultur und Rasse.1 And yet, it is in his work that the concepts of “material ...

Contributors

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pp. 283-289

Index

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pp. 291-295