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Learning from things : method and theory of material culture studies

Author: W D Kingery
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, ©1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : National government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Learning from Things presents the methods and theories underlying the many ways in which material objects - things of all kinds from all periods of history - can reconstruct and interpret lifeways of the past. This collection of essays links material culture studies with art history and the history of technology, as well as with archaeology, anthropology, cultural geography, folklore studies, and other fields that
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Genre/Form: Aufsatzsammlung
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Learning from things.
Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, ©1996
(OCoLC)891941460
Material Type: Government publication, National government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: W D Kingery
ISBN: 1560986077 9781560986072 1560988835 9781560988830
OCLC Number: 32203222
Description: x, 262 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction / David Kingery --
Material/culture: can the farmer and the cowman still be friends? / Jules D. Prown --
Learning from technological things / Steven Lubar --
Object lessons/object myths? what historians learn from things / Joseph J. Corn --
Object/ions: technology, culture, and gender / Ruth Oldenziel --
Formation processes of the historical and archaeological records / Michael Brian Schiffer --
Pathways to the present: in search of shirt-pocket radios with subminiature tubes / Michael Brian Schiffer --
Destruction of the archaeological heritage and the formation of museum collections: the case of Denmark / Kristian Kristiansen --
Passionate possession: the formation of private collections / Marjorie Akin. Formation processes of ethnographic collections: examples from the Great Basin of western North America / Catherine S. Fowler and Don D. Fowler --
Formation of anthropological archival records / Nancy J. Parezo --
Role for materials science / W. David Kingery --
Materials science and material culture / W. David Kingery --
Optical and electron microscopy in material culture studies / David Killick --
Dating, provenance, and usage in material culture studies / Michael S. Tite.
Responsibility: edited by W. David Kingery.

Abstract:

Learning from Things presents the methods and theories underlying the many ways in which material objects - things of all kinds from all periods of history - can reconstruct and interpret lifeways of the past. This collection of essays links material culture studies with art history and the history of technology, as well as with archaeology, anthropology, cultural geography, folklore studies, and other fields that use material evidence. The thirteen contributors - among them Jules D. Prown, Don D. Fowler, Steven Lubar, Joseph J. Corn, and Michael B. Schiffer - examine both the processes of forming historical and archaeological records and collections and how those processes influence, and even distort, conclusions made by scholars. The book also deals with the role of optical and electron microscopy, radiocarbon dating, and other tools of material science in material culture studies.

Citing various processes - from microwear analysis of Paleolithic stone tool surfaces to the impact of mechanized metal cutting on nineteenth-century gun production - the contributors argue the importance of multidisciplinary participation for accurately analyzing objects. Bringing together the approaches of both "hard" systematic scholars and "soft" humanists concerned with aesthetics and cultural belief systems, the book provides a foundation for the further evolution of material culture studies.

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