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Essays on Pockets, Pouches and Secret Drawers
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This essay collection focuses on enclosure, deception and secrecy in three spatial areas – the body, clothing and furniture. It contributes to the study of private life and explores the micro-history of hidden spaces. The contents of pockets may prove a surer index to their owner’s real thoughts than anything they say; a piece of furniture with ingenious mechanisms created to conceal secrets may also reveal someone’s attempts to break in and thus give away as much as it holds. Though the book’s focus is on particular material or imagined objects, taken as a whole it exemplifies a range of interdisciplinary encounters between history, literary criticism, art history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, sociology, criminology, archival studies, museology and curating, and women’s studies.
Shaping Identities between Networks and Patronage (c. 1530-1690)
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In this volume Giulia Zanon sheds new light on our grasp of social hierarchy and the possibilities for social mobility in pre-modern Italy. By adopting an interdisciplinary approach that combines deep archival research with a multitude of artistic and architectural artefacts, this work breaks new ground by contextualizing the part played by social relationships and the arts in publicly affirming and displaying the prestige of the middling sorts, the cittadini, in early modern Venice.
Daily Life in a Village in the Yasin Valley, Pakistan
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In A Mountain Oasis, Susan York presents a richly illustrated socio-economic study of village life in Pakistan’s Yasin Valley, undertaken during one year spent living with a local family. It documents this dynamic agro-pastoral society at a time when few researchers were recording developments in these far-flung and difficult to reach mountain oases of the Hindukush. It is a record of a time when development interventions were in their beginnings, and before this area in Gilgit-Baltistan entered a crucial period of transformation. It provides solid comparative reference material for future research on this region, which is continuing to undergo challenging and complex changes.
Black Material Culture and the Development of a Consumer Society in South Africa, 1800-2020
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Since the early nineteenth century, the things which Black South Africans have had in their homes have changed completely. They have adopted things like tables, chairs, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and saucers, iron pots, beds, blankets, European clothing, and later electronic apparatus. Thus they claimed modernity, respectability and political inclusion. This book is the first systematic analysis of this development. It argues that the desire to possess such goods formed a major part of the drive behind the anti-apartheid struggle, and that the demand to consume has significantly influenced both the economy and the politics of the country.
At the same time whimsical and thought-provoking, Fluxus explored everyday life as an object of art. Behind mundane materials and activities, we find a large network of Fluxus artists who worked together for decades to create and share their art. This publication builds on archival materials that expose the nature of the artists’ working relationships, and methods for collaboration and circulation of artworks. It traces both people and things, exploring how the network expanded and was made solid, from Fluxus’s conception in the 1960s, to the 1990s, when it had eventually left its stealth flight under art history’s radar.
Volume Editors: and
The Social Lives of Chinese Objects is the first anthology of texts to apply Arjun Appadurai’s well-known argument on the social life of things to the discussion of artefacts made in China. The essays in this book look at objects as “things-in-motion,” a status that brings attention to the history of transmissions ensuing after the time and conditions of their production. How does the identity of an object change as a consequence of geographical relocation and/ or temporal transference? How do the intentions of the individuals responsible for such transfers affect the later status and meaning of these objects? The materiality of the things analyzed in this book, and visualized by a rich array of illustrations, varies from bronze to lacquered wood, from clay to porcelain, and includes painting, imperial clothing, and war spoils. Metamorphoses of value, status, and function as well as the connections with the individuals who managed them, such as collectors, museum curators, worshipers, and soldiers are also considered as central to the discussion of their life. Presenting a broader and more contextual reading than that traditionally adopted by art-historical scholarship, the essays in this book take on a multidisciplinary approach that helps to expose crucial elements in the life of these Chinese things and brings to light the cumulative motives making them relevant and meaningful to our present time.
Following the Tea Ritual from China to West Africa
Green tea, imported from China, occupies an important place in the daily lives of Malians. They spend so much time preparing and consuming the sugared beverage that it became the country’s national drink. To find out how Malians came to practice the tea ritual, this study follows the beverage from China to Mali on its historical trade routes halfway around the globe. It examines the circumstances of its introduction, the course of the tea ritual, the equipment to prepare and consume it, and the meanings that it assumed in the various places on its travel across geographical regions, political economies, cultural contexts, and religious affiliations.
Volume Editors: and
The Mediality of Sugar probes the potential of reading sugar as a mediator across some of the disciplinary distinctions in early twenty-first century research in the arts, literature, architecture, and popular culture. Selected artistic practices and material cultures of sugar across Europe and the Americas from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century are investigated and connected to the transcontinental and transoceanic history of the sugar plants cane and beet, their botanical and cultural dissemination, and global sugar capital and trade under colonialism and in decoloniality. The collection contributes to the vision of a Transnational and Postdisciplinary Sugar Studies.
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How do objects become contested in settings characterized by (violent) conflict? Why are some things contested by religious actors? How do religious actors mobilize things in conflict situations and how are conflict and violence experienced by religious groups? This volume explores relations between materiality, religion, and violence by drawing upon two fields of scholarship that have rarely engaged with one another: research on religion and (violent) conflict and the material turn within religious studies. This way, this volume sets the stage for the development of new conceptual and methodological directions in the study of religion-related violent conflict that takes materiality seriously.

Contributors are Christoph Baumgartner, Margaretha van Es, Lucien van Liere, Erik Meinema, Birgit Meyer, Daan F. Oostveen, Younes Saramifar, Joram Tarusarira, Tammy Wilks.
Commercial Networks, Brand Creation and Intellectual Property