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Dogs have played a vital and varied role in the social history of early China. Whether used as a source of food, a hunting-aid, or a sacrificial victim, dogs were intimately connected with human life and death. The placement and significance of dismembered and slaughtered dogs in human tombs have been a source of scholarly interest across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. However, less attention has been paid to sources which present us with a spectrum of concerns surrounding the treatment of dogs after their death. Should they be consumed, discarded, or buried? Which dogs were deserving of burial, and how were such burials viewed by human commentators? By analysing textual, archaeological, and material sources, this article explores the changing conceptualisation of dogs in life and in death through the medium of the tomb, showing how the transition from tomb-keeper to tomb-occupant reflects an increasingly anthropomorphic view of canine potential and moral fibre by the early medieval period.
When Lev Tolstoy died in 1910, he was a literary celebrity, famous well beyond the borders of his native Russia. His death became one of the first truly international media events of the twentieth century. But the public hunger for images of the great man was already prominent much earlier in his life, when both commissioned and unsolicited portraits and photographs proliferated, creating an international Tolstoy iconography. Throughout the twentieth century, artists, filmmakers, and writers attempted to create their own vision of Tolstoy, either embracing or opposing, but always engaging with, this visual canon. This chapter discusses Tolstoy as a subject of art in painting, cinema, and the theatre, exploring the impact of celebrity-generated images on his representation in these media. First, it focuses on well-known portraits and sculptures of Tolstoy, from Ilya Repin’s famous paintings to Oleg Kulik’s playful installations, as well as controversial frescoes and advertising images. It then moves on to chart a very short history of Tolstoy’s appearance on film, first as a celebrity and then as a character. The final part of the chapter discusses Tolstoy’s postmodern afterlives in the works of Viktor Pelevin and in contemporary Russian theatre.
“The Article” looks at newspaper accounts of lynching through the lens of print, visual, media, and material culture. This materialist lens draws particular attention to the production and circulation of newspaper accounts. Further, this chapter conceptualizes the broader issues of memory, absence, and narrative in the use of newspaper articles as historical primary sources.
Through an examination of scraps of clothing collected from the sites of lynching, this chapter theorizes the persistence of the reliquary object into the nineteenth- and twentieth-century South. The chapter focuses on the particularity of clothing as material objects capable of holding sensory and conceptual memories of the human body. This comes as part of a larger discussion of relics and reliquary cultures and builds on discourses on the Black male body from history, African American studies, and visual culture studies.
“The Tree” examines lynching souvenirs in the context of the emerging tourist economies of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century southern United States. The chapter focuses on mementos taken from lynching trees as well as the overlaps between this practice and other forms of landscape documentation and tourism. Through this study, the chapter also charts the overlaps between different object categories, particularly souvenirs and relics, as the image of the South became an increasingly commericalized and consumable one. This study of lynching souvenirs thus makes an argument for the inextricability of southern identity from its foundations in racial violence.
This chapter examines another form of conventional historical source through a material culture lens by considering a letter written in 1898 by a former Fusionist supporter and the father of Emma Hartsell. Hartsell was the alleged cause of Kizer and Johnson's lynching, and her father's letter defended the lynching as a necessary corrective to his own former political beliefs. This chapter puts the letter in two broader contexts: the white supremacist political campaign of 1898, and the built environment of media in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century South. In particular, the chapter juxtaposes various landscape texts, such as notes left on lynched bodies and commerical advertising on buildings, to conceptualize broader printed and built cultures of white supremacy.
“The Song” takes as its subject the material, visual, and sonic circulations of a ballad written about the Kizer and Johnson lynching. The chapter focuses in particular on its first recording, a 1960s single by the folk musician J. E. Mainer. By looking at its circulation first as a performed and then recorded song, the chapter examines the sonic and visual circulations of the ballad as a signifer of southern authenticity. By delving into discourses on authenticity and folk culture, “The Song” points to an evolution in the meaning of racial violence as a constitutive part of a white southern identity. Further, the study examines how this emblem of white southernness came to represent a particular form of personal authenticity for a new generation immersed in the folk revival movement of the 1960s. In this way the chapter serves as a study of both the racist ideology of some countercultural movements as well as the evolution of lynching's meaning in the late twentieth century.
This introductory chapter examines the study of lynching through the lens of material culture with particular attention to landscapes of memory. It both introduces the narrative of the lynching of Tom Johnson and Joe Kizer in Concord, North Carolina in 1898 and uses interdiscplinary theories drawn from African American studies, American studies, cultural history, and cultural geography to advance new methodologies for the study of racial violence.
The 1898 lynching of Tom Johnson and Joe Kizer is retold in this groundbreaking book. Unlike other histories of lynching that rely on conventional historical records, this study focuses on the objects associated with the lynching, including newspaper articles, fragments of the victims' clothing, photographs, and souvenirs such as sticks from the hanging tree. This material culture approach uncovers how people tried to integrate the meaning of the lynching into their everyday lives through objects. These seemingly ordinary items are repositories for the comprehension, interpretation, and commemoration of racial violence and white supremacy. Elijah Gaddis showcases an approach to objects as materials of history and memory, insisting that we live in a world suffused with the material traces of racial violence, past and present.
Chapter 4 examines the manufacture and provision of artificial limbs reveals, demonstrating that the maintenance of masculine bodies as national bodies, in the strictest sense, was of paramount concern during the war. While wartime flows of technical knowledge ultimately meant that prosthetic limbs throughout the Allied nations became largely indistinguishable, government authorities who oversaw production were determined to see men refitted with goods that were in essence ‘national’, in their actual construction and in their materials. Technological processes could be transnational composites but the bodies that they managed could not. Wartime prosthetic devices embodied the values of the Allied culture of rehabilitation, manifesting the remaking of the working-class body according to middle-class values. New devices allowed men to perform according to the pre-war masculine ideal and to carry out the demands of labour, but the promises of science to return men to their pre-war forms fell short and veterans participated in various modes of self-fashioning and advocacy to achieve satisfactory solutions on their own terms.
Histories of advertising in Africa focus on the postwar and postcolonial periods. This essay examines an innovative marketing campaign in South Africa's eastern Cape in the 1930s. The campaign reveals congruence and conflict between increased marketing of consumer goods to African households and the contemporaneous growth of women's home improvement societies. The newspaper Umlindi we Nyanga used testimonials and written competitions to sell its Ambrosia brand of tea to rural women. Advertisers and consumers drew on local meanings of tea consumption and debates about feminine respectability to present tea-drinking women as ‘intelligent’ and ‘wise mothers’. The emphasis on intelligence linked tea to literacy, in part because text-based consumer culture offered rural women a way to visibly consume socially respectable goods. The essay concludes with a close examination of two testimonials written by leaders of home improvement societies, which hint at the contradictions implicit in the commercialization of the ‘wise mother’.
This collection brings together an international group of scholars to address an expansive range of small things, paying close attention, for the first time, to the rich interaction between scale and the body. Offering an intimate history of how small things were used, handled, and worn, this collection shows how entangled small things, such as mugs, buttons, and buckles, were with quotidian practices and rituals of bodily care. Small objects, such as tiny books, ceramic trinkets, toothpick cases, and patch boxes, could delight and entertain, generating tactile pleasures for users, and also at the same time signaling the limits of the body’s adeptness or the hand’s dexterity. The volume also explores the mobility of small things: how fans, coins, rings, and pottery could, for instance, carry into circumscribed spaces political, philosophical, and cultural concepts; and how small items, tea caddies, wampum beads, and drawings of ants for example, were shaped by empire and contributed to Enlightenment systems of knowledge production. From the decorative and playful to the useful and performative, small things negotiated larger political, cultural, and scientific shifts as they transported aesthetic and cultural practices across borders, via nationalist imagery, gift exchange, and the movement of global colonial goods.
Offering an intimate history of how small things were used, handled, and worn, this collection shows how objects such as mugs and handkerchiefs were entangled with quotidian practices and rituals of bodily care. Small things, from tiny books to ceramic trinkets and toothpick cases, could delight and entertain, generating tactile pleasures for users while at the same time signalling the limits of the body's adeptness or the hand's dexterity. Simultaneously, the volume explores the striking mobility of small things: how fans, coins, rings, and pottery could, for instance, carry political, philosophical, and cultural concepts into circumscribed spaces. From the decorative and playful to the useful and performative, such small things as tea caddies, wampum beads, and drawings of ants negotiated larger political, cultural, and scientific shifts as they transported aesthetic and cultural practices across borders, via nationalist imagery, gift exchange, and the movement of global goods.
Wampum beads are small beads made out of shellfish, typically the quahog clam, which were traditionally used by various First Nations in acts of ceremony, memory, and exchange. Often placed together on strings or woven into large belts displaying patterns, wampum was exchanged among various Indigenous nations of the Eastern Seaboard and beyond. It became a very important trade object with Europeans, who spread its use across colonial economies. For British writers in the eighteenth century, it was a perplexing material; for some it was understood as a form of currency, roughly translatable to a European economic system of monetary exchange. Others understood wampum as writing, not legible to the European but which contained in its strings of beads a cultural history or account of a treaty negotiation, or more simply a pledge of fidelity. Its additional use as an object of adornment further complicated any stable understanding; as both text and commodity, sacred pact and ornament, wampum conflated systems of meaning and challenged European epistemologies. This chapter will look at various interpretations of wampum and will assess the epistemological challenges it placed to a society in which the lines between finance and culture were becoming increasingly blurred.
This chapter examines a series of teapots, produced in the 1760s, whose material and decorative contradictions prompted questions about scale, knowledge, and mortality. By examining these different registers, the chapter reveals the diverse roles these diminutive and densely patterned teapots played in the cultural and social life of eighteenth-century Britain. The designs featured on these teapots sought to represent rock formations and fossils. In a culture increasingly interested in the emerging discipline of geology and the history of the earth, such designs prompted important conversations. At the same time, the materiality of these wares, which was both highly breakable and durable, allowed for questions about material knowledge. The material qualities also asked about the nature of human lives and mortality. Ceramics could be bequeathed over generations and broken in an instant. Finally, the function of these pots and their role in tea drinking, meant that these objects were constantly handled and made animate. The form of these wares was unusual, however, and their discordant features highlighted the “otherness” of objects. In exploring the different decorative, material, and functional aspects of these pots, the chapter shows how relatively small things were particularly adept at asking big questions.
In the early modern period costume books and albums participated in the shaping of a new visual culture that displayed the diversity of the people of the known world on a variety of media including maps, atlases, screens, and scrolls. At the crossroads of early anthropology, geography, and travel literature, this textual and visual production blurred the lines between art and science. Costume books and albums were not a unique European production: in the Ottoman Empire and the Far East artists and geographers also pictured the dress of men and women of their own and faraway lands hybridizing the Renaissance western tradition. Acknowledging this circulation of knowledge and people through migration, travel, missionary and diplomatic encounters, this Element contributes to the expanding field of early modern cultural studies in a global perspective.
This chapter examines the literary afterlives of white Confederates' household possessions, especially those damaged during military invasion, or degraded by the impoverishment experienced by elite white southerners in the Civil War’s aftermath. It argues that, alongside emancipation's arrival, the military incursion into southern plantations and wealthy households altered the premises of white possession beyond recall. The damaged objects left behind became more than just traces of enemy invasion to the privileged slaveholding women left to pick up the pieces. As these women revealed in their private journals, their own belongings represented a threat to the forms of selfhood and racial pedigree that had defined their antebellum lives. In exploring how ex-Confederate women, writing during Reconstruction, used fiction to reorganize and display their sullied possessions, this chapter outlines a material history integral to the myth of Confederate exceptionalism—a myth more recognizably reified by monuments to the Lost Cause.
Starting with popular memories of the civilian gas masks of the Second World War, this chapter argues that the emergence of this singular, material object signals the arrival of the civil defense state and its accompanying militarization of civilian life. It reveals the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of The Age of the Gas Mask, and shows how the gas mask connects the histories of both world wars, of combatants and civilians, of men and women, of metropole and colony, of the state and the individual, thus shedding new light on total war.
The issue of religious experience has long puzzled scholars of religion. Those who have addressed this issue at all largely reflect the Protestant-tinged conclusions of William James (1902). If identifying symptoms of religious experience among modern adherents has proven problematic, how much more so is this the case for ancient religions? When such symptoms for ancient religions have been addressed by scholars at all, they are inferred from the ancient texts that supposedly allude to them. However, much evidence for ancient religions is not textual but material, and for the cults of the Roman Mithras, the evidence is overwhelmingly so. New methodologies from the neurocognitive sciences, complementary to traditional archaeological and historiographical methods, might offer an approach to symptoms of religious experience from material culture by identifying experience with attention-focusing modulations of historically assessable measures of quotidian sentience. The techniques for effecting such modulations are often preserved in the material evidence and allow for a tractable history of their neurocognitive technologies. Two techniques for provoking experience among the cults of the Roman Mithras are identified from the archaeological evidence: communal meals and rites of initiation. These practices took place in the architectural structure of the mithraeum itself in the presence of Mithraic imagery, including the ubiquitous tauroctony, the cult image of Mithras slaying a bull. From these material remains of the Mithraic cults technologies of experience might be identified and the nature of the evoked experience itself inferred.
Chapter 5 examines exchanges of material cultures. Through the paradigm of ‘domestication’, it shows how lakeshore populations incorporated several commodities circulating the wider Indian Ocean World into their everyday lives, while also showing how coastal traders sought to affect the supply of these objects to enrich their commercial networks. The principal items discussed are glass beads, cotton cloths, and guns. The chapter uses the Lake Tanganyika case study to show how demand for specific products in East Africa affected broader commercial patterns that traversed the wider Indian Ocean World, which themselves were concurrently being affected by the spread of capitalism from Europe. Additionally, it shows how patterns of consumption on the lakeshore served to enhance the status of several bonds(wo)men, suggesting a contravention of often assumed links between being in bondage and of having low social status.