History through material culture is a unique, step-by-step guide for students and researchers who wish to use objects as historical sources.
Responding to the significant, scholarly interest in historical material culture studies, this book makes clear how students and researchers ready to use these rich material sources can make important, valuable and original contributions to history.
Written by two experienced museum practitioners and historians, the book recognises the theoretical and practical challenges of this approach and offers clear advice on methods to get the best out of material culture research. With a focus on the early modern and modern periods, this volume draws on examples from across the world and demonstrates how to use material culture to answer a range of enquiries, including social, economic, gender, cultural and global history.
History through material culture is a concise guide for historians focused on how to use material culture as a source. Written in an engaging and clear style, it provides for the first time a step-by-step guide for researchers interested in incorporating the study of objects into their historical practice. The book aims to inspire readers to use objects as historical sources by highlighting the many new and exciting avenues of research which this rich evidence opens up. By outlining the development of different disciplinary approaches and synthesising a range of complex methodological and theoretical arguments, History through Material Culture aids researchers in developing their own original project. The book draws on a range of examples from across the world, from apparently mundane everyday items to those stored in national museums. The book concentrates on the early modern and modern eras, where use of material culture is less well-established amongst scholars than for earlier periods. The authors are both historians who have worked in museums and, consequently, the book contains a wealth of practical advice on how to access, study and write about objects stored in such institutions. History through material culture provides an indispensable guide for students at undergraduate and postgraduate level and independent researchers new to the study of objects in history and related disciplines in the humanities. It is an ideal textbook for the many courses in history and museum and heritage studies devoted to the study of material culture.
Leonie Hannan is Research Fellow in Eighteenth-Century History at Queen's University, Belfast Sarah Longair is Lecturer in the History of Empire at the University of Lincoln
1 Approaches to the material world
2 Planning a research project
3 Developing a methodology
4 Locating sources: understanding museum collections and other repositories
5 Analysing sources
6 Writing up findings
SeriesIHR Research Guides
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