Sensible Objects: Colonialism, Museums and Material Culture

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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, touch and sound, as well as sight, in making meanings about objects.
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Product Details

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

Pt. 1 The senses
1 Enduring and endearing feelings and the transformation of material culture in West Africa 35
2 Studio photography and the aesthetics of citizenship in the Gambia, West Africa 61
3 Cooking skill, the senses, and memory : the fate of practical knowledge 87
Pt. 2 Colonialism
4 Mata Ora : chiseling the living face, dimensions of Maori tattoo 121
5 Smoked fish and fermented oil : taste and smell among the Kwakwaka'wakw 141
6 Sonic spectacles of empire : the audio-visual nexus, Delhi-London, 1911-12 169
Pt. 3 Museums
7 The museum as sensescape : Western sensibilities and indigenous artifacts 199
8 The fate of the senses in ethnographic modernity : the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples at the American Museum of Natural History 223
9 Contact points : museums and the lost body problem 245
10 The beauty of letting go : fragmentary museums and archaeologies of archive 269
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