Sensible Objects: Colonialism, Museums and Material Culture

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Anthropologists of the senses have long argued that cultures differ in their sensory registers. This groundbreaking volume applies this idea to material culture and the social practices that endow objects with meanings in both colonial and postcolonial relationships. It challenges the privileged position of the sense of vision in the analysis of material culture. Contributors argue that vision can only be understood in relation to the other senses. In this they present another challenge to the assumed western five-sense model, and show how our understanding of material culture in both historical and contemporary contexts might be reconfigured if we consider the role of smell, taste, feel and sound, as well as sight, in making meanings about objects.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845203245
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 8/8/2006
  • Series: Wenner-Gren International Symposium Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Edwards is Head of Photograph Manuscript Collections and Lecturer in Visual Anthropology, The Pitt Rivers Museum Research Centre, Oxford. Chris Gosden is at The Pitt Rivers Museum Research Centre, Oxford. Ruth Phillips is at the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Carleton University, Canada.

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Table of Contents

Introduction--Elizabeth Edwards, Chris Gosden, and Ruth Phillips
• Part One: The Senses
• Enduring and Endearing Feelings and the Transformation of Material Culture in West Africa--Kathryn Geurts, Elvis Gershon Adikah
• Studio Photography and the Aesthetics of Citizenship in The Gambia, West Africa--Liam Buckley
• Cooking Skill, the Senses and Memory: The Fate of Practical Knowledge--David Sutton
• Part Two: Colonialism
• Mata Ora: Chiselling the Living Face, Dimensions of Maori Tattoo--Ngahuia Te Akwekotuku
• Smoked Fish and Fermented Oil: Taste and Smell among the Kwakwaka'wakw--Aldona Jonaitis
• Sonic Spectacles of Empire: The Audio-Visual Nexus, Dehli - London, 1911-12--Tim Barringer
• Part Three: Museums
• The Museum as Sensescape: Western Sensibilities and Indigenous Artefacts--Constance Classen and David Howes
• The Fate of the Senses in Ethnographic Modernity: The Margaret Mead Peoples of the Pacific Hall at the American Museum of Natural History--Diane Losche
• Contact Points: Museums and the Lost Body Problem--Jeffrey Feldman
• The Beauty of Letting Go: Fragmentary Museums and the Archaeologies of Archive--Sven Ouzman

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