André Leroi-Gourhan is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed figures of twentieth-century anthropology and archaeology. In France, his intellectual importance rivals that of the Claude Lévi-Strauss, yet Leroi-Gourhan’s major contributions are almost entirely unknown in the Anglophone world. This collection seeks to change that.
This selection of Leroi-Gourhan’s important texts—many translated into English for the first time—highlight some of his chief influences, such as elaborating a theory of technology, which argues that material culture focusing on the object in use, and how use is a dynamic feature that has specific consequences for human evolution and human society. With serious ramifications for our understanding of material culture, putting Leroi-Gourhan’s thinking about technology into English will have an immediate and transformative impact on material culture studies.
In the West at the turn of the twentieth century, public understanding of science and the world was shaped in part by expeditions to Asia, North America, and the Pacific. The Anthropology of Expeditions draws together contributions from anthropologists and historians of science to explore the role of these journeys in natural history and anthropology between approximately 1890 and 1930. By examining collected materials as well as museum and archive records, the contributors to this volume shed light on the complex social life and intimate work practices of the researchers involved in these expeditions. At the same time, the contributors also demonstrate the methodological challenges and rewards of studying these legacies and provide new insights for the history of collecting, history of anthropology, and histories of expeditions. Offering fascinating insights into the nature of expeditions and the human relationships that shaped them, The Anthropology of Expeditions sets a new standard for the field.
In early twentieth-century Berlin, the museumsdebate was set into motion with Wilhelm von Bode’s sweeping proposal to reorganize a group of the city’s museums. Between 1907 and 1910, two particularly striking series of articles appeared in the journal Museumskunde: Journal for the Administration and Technology of Public and Private Collections. The first was a six-part essay by Otto Lauffer on history museums and the second was a ten-part piece by Oswald Richter regarding ethnographic museums, and both initiated a century of important dialogue.
Presented together here as Collecting, Displaying, and Interpreting Material Culture, these first full English translations of the two book-length articles remain unequalled presentations about the different implications of art, historical, and ethnographic museums. They show how sophisticated the discussion of museums and museum display was in the early twentieth century, and how much could be gained from revisiting these reflections today. Accompanied with short commentaries by a group of museum professionals, these translations and associated commentaries allow for an intervention and intensification of the current level of debate about museums, one that will further invigorated by the opening of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin in 2019.
Derived from Latin ex voto suscepto “in pursuance of a vow,” an ex voto embodies the hopes, dreams, and anxieties of the person who deposits it. Almost anything, regardless of size, weight, form, or original function, can become a votive object. Ultimately, the category refers to a subset of the material world in which a thing is not necessarily made to be a votive, but instead becomes charged with votive meaning once dedicated to a deity or deities. This volume, one of the first collections devoted exclusively to the subject, builds on the assumption that a shared conceptual framework underpins votive objects, and that by merit of their consecration they have become a category representing a special stage in the life of a material.
The contributors to this comparative study examine ex votos across a range of locations and time periods, including the classical Mediterranean world, medieval Europe, the period of the Catholic Reform, and on to Mexico, Shinto and Buddhist Japan, and Muslim Iran. Voluminous and diverse, Ex Voto will appeal in a wide range of fields, including history, religion, and anthropology.
History is usually thought of as a tale of time, a string of events flowing in a particular chronological order. But as Karl Schlögel shows in this groundbreaking book, the where of history is just as important as the when. Schlögel relishes space the way a writer relishes a good story: on a quest for a type of history that takes full account of place, he explores everything from landscapes to cities, maps to railway timetables. Do you know the origin of the name “Everest”? What can the layout of towns tell us about the American Dream? In Space We Read Time reveals this and much, much more.
Here is both a model for thinking about history within physical space and a stimulating history of thought about space, as Schlögel reads historical periods and events within the context of their geographical location. Discussions range from the history of geography in France to what a town directory from 1930s Berlin can say about professional trades that have since disappeared. He takes a special interest in maps, which can serve many purposes—one poignant example being the German Jewish community’s 1938 atlas of emigration, which showed the few remaining possibilities for escape. Other topics include Thomas Jefferson’s map of the United States; the British survey of India; and the multiple cartographers with Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, where the aim was to redraw Europe’s boundaries on the basis of ethnicity. Moving deftly from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to 9/11 and from Vermeer’s paintings to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this intriguing book presents history from a completely new perspective.
The last forty years have seen the rise of the personal computer, a device that has enabled ordinary individuals to access a tool that had been exclusive to laboratories and corporate technology centers. During this time, computers have become smaller, faster, more powerful, and more complex. So much has happened with so many products, in fact, that we often take for granted the uniqueness of our experiences with different machines over time.
The Interface Experience surveys some of the landmark devices in the history of personal computing—including the Commodore 64, Apple Macintosh Plus, Palm Pilot Professional, and Microsoft Kinect—and helps us to better understand the historical shifts that have occurred with the design and material experience of each machine. With its spiral-bound design reminiscent of early computer user manuals and thorough consideration of the cultural moment represented by each device, The Interface Experience is a one-of-a-kind tour of modern computing technology.