The new year has promoted a lot of material culture journalism related to lifestyle changes and consumption habits. Some of the items here fit into this frame, including older stores being recirculated on social media.
“The Norwegian Art of the Packed Lunch” by Zaria Gorvett for BBC. http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190103-the-norwegian-art-of-the-packed-lunch #foodways #work
“210-Foot Fatberg Blocks Sewers of English Seaside Town” by Iliana Magra in the New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/world/europe/uk-fatberg-sidmouth.html #infrastructure #consumption #habits
“The Mysterious, Stubborn Appeal of Mass-Produced Fried Chicken. Why do so many accomplished chefs call Popeyes their favorite fried chicken?” by Adam Clair for Vice. https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/8xppqv/the-mysterious-stubborn-appeal-of-mass-produced-fried-chicken #foodways #industrialprocess
“The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter. A cluttered home can be a stressful home, researchers are learning” by Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi for New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/well/mind/clutter-stress-procrastination-psychology.html #consumption #psychology
“The Economics of Tidying Up” by Bourree Lam for The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/an-economist-reads-marie-kondo/392921/ #consumption #economics
“What We Gain from Keeping Books – and why it Doesn’t Need to be ‘Joy’” by Anakana Schofield for The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/07/what-we-gain-from-keeping-books-and-why-it-doesnt-need-to-be-joy-marie-kondo #consumption #culture
Which Shreds and Patches posts were most popular in 2018? These were:
- What is the current status of confidentiality and non-disclosure policies at HAU?
- Coconut Rattles in Florida and Oklahoma
- What is the Museum Anthropology Review Business (Labor) Model?
- The IU Gateway Office and Tsinghua University Art Museum (12/8)
- The University of Tartu, Appreciated
- The Mallet: Making a Maul in a Baiku Yao Community
- Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, Revisited, Again (12/9)
- The Ethnic Costume Museum at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (12/9)
- Workshop on Ethnographic Methods in Museum Folklore and Ethnology
- Pot Holders, Or William C. Sturtevant Collections Research, Day 1
Numbers 1 and 3 arose in the context of the systemic problems with Hau that became widely known and discussed beginning last summer. Numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 relate to collaborative work in China. Numbers 2 and 10 are retro posts that I wrote back in 2012 and relate to studies of the William C. Sturtevant Collection at the National Museum of Natural History. Number 5 is a post related to my 2019 travels in Estonia.
Shreds and Patches has featured 580 posts spread over about 4123 days since my first post, The site software reports 101,258 views from 30,545 visitors. The peak week for 2018 was June 11-17, when the Hau inspired posts appeared. That week saw 2076 views from 1675 visitors. Peak wordiness came in 2011 with 41,403 words. This year saw 22,681 words (prior to this post).
Thanks to everyone who reads and appreciates the posts and special appreciation goes to the those who wrote guest posts during 2018. Happy new year everyone.
Material culture journalism, continued. Thanks to those who share stories…
“Gritty’s Evolution from Googly-eyed Hockey Mascot to Meme to Leftist Avatar, Explained | On our burning hunger for moral clarity and the unexplainable heart of the universe” by Todd VanDerWerff in Vox. (HT/AZ) #antisystemicmovements #mascots #costume
“Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton to Step Down from Top Spot in June” by Peggy McGlone and Maura Judkis in The Washington Post #museums
“Missouri Family Hand-makes Cookie Cutters in any Shape you can Imagine” by AOL/In The Know (HT/Missouri Folk Arts Program) #smallbusiness #foodways
“The Juul Fad Is Far Bigger Than I Ever Would Have Guessed” by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. #capitalism #publichealth
“Year End Obituary: Charles Harrison, Inventor Of The Plastic Garbage Can” by NPR/All Things Considered. #AfricanAmericanHistory #Sears #IndustrialDesign
The Material Vernaculars book series, published by the Indiana University Press in partnership with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, is maturing. Four titles have now appeared and one more (Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community) is in production. Additional potential titles are under consideration or being finalized. The works already published have now begun being reviewed. Here are some of those reviews. Thanks as always to the journals that seek reviews of scholarly books. It is hard work soliciting, securing, editing and publishing such reviews, but they are of great value and are appreciated.
Folk Art and Aging by Jon Kay
Bronner, Simon. 2017. “Review of Folk Art and Aging: Life Story Objects and Their Makers by Jon Kay.” Journal of Folklore Research Reviews. http://www.jfr.indiana.edu/review.php?id=2104
Haymond, Raven. 2018. “Review of Folk Art and Aging: Life Story Objects and Their Makers by Jon Kay.” Western Folklore 77 (3-4): 350-352.
Mundell, Kathleen. 2018. “Review of Folk Art and Aging: Life Story Objects and Their Makers by Jon Kay.” Journal of American Folklore 131 (520): 222-223.
Stephens, David P. 2016. “Review of Folk Art and Aging: Life Story Objects and Their Makers by Jon Kay.” Material Culture Review 82-83. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/MCR/article/view/25633/29754
Framing Sukkot by Gabrielle Berlinger
Carter, Thomas. 2018. “Review of Framing Sukkot: Tradition and Transformation in Jewish Vernacular Architecture by Gabrielle Berlinger.” Journal of Folklore Research Reviews. http://www.jfr.indiana.edu/review.php?id=2236
Material Vernaculars edited by Jason Baird Jackson
Deutsch, James I. 2018. “Review of Material Vernaculars: Objects, Images, and Their Social Worlds edited by Jason Baird Jackson.” Western Folklore 77 (1): 94-96.
Yohe, Jill Ahlberg. 2018. “Review of Material Vernaculars: Objects, Images, nd Their Social Worlds edited by Jason Baird Jackson.” Journal of Anthropological Research 74 (1): 132-133. https://doi.org/10.1086/696164
It is too new for reviews yet, but don’t miss The Expressive Lives of Elders edited by Jon Kay.
Thanks to all the friends sharing the material culture journalism. Here is a new batch. The passing of Shan Goshorn is particularly sad to note.
“The making of the Finnish First Lady’s tree-based eco dress. A guide to the creation of Jenni Haukio’s Independence Gala gown, from a forest in Joensuu to the red carpet at the Independence Day reception in Helsinki” by YLE/UUTISET (HT/HV) #craft #innovation
“Shan Goshorn, Whose Cherokee Art Was Political, Dies at 61” by Alex Lemonides in the New York Times. (HT/JL) #loss #indigenous #art
“Creating Tradition” [A Profile of Florida Seminole Artist Brian Zepeda] by Tina Marie Osceola in Life in Naples Magazine. [HT/Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum] #indigenous #craft #art
“Why We Cover High Fashion” [“The Times’s fashion director and chief fashion critic reflects on what makes haute couture relevant'”] by Vanessa Friedman at the New York Times. #elitism #dress
Continuing with the Material Culture Journalism series….
“We Broke Into A Bunch Of Android Phones With A 3D-Printed Head“ by Thomas Brewster at Forbes. (H/T JB) #techology
“An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It“ by Howard Berkes at NPR. (Part of a long, ongoing investigation) #globalassemblages
“Golden Cape Made from Golden Orb Spider Silk“ by Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), Australia. (HT/MK) #craft
“The Last Woman who Makes Sea Silk” by [two versions] Great Big Story / CNN. (H/T MK) #craft
Happily, next month I will again teach a graduate course in material culture studies at Indiana University. In that context I will be even more interested than usual in finding and sharing journalism of possible relevance. Every so often, I will probably share some links for the benefit of any interested friends, colleagues, and students in the course. If you see a good story, share the link in the comments.
“Why do all new apartment buildings look the same? The bland, boxy apartment boom is a design issue, and a housing policy problem“ by Patrick Sisson at Curbed. #architecture
“I used all the best stuff for a week and it nearly broke me. Living like a fancy millennial was wonderful, until it wasn’t“ by Rebecca Jennings at Vox. #consumption
Don’t miss the recent documentary film “The Flight of the Condor: A Letter, a Song, and the Story of Intangible Cultural Heritage”. by Áslaug Einarsdóttir and Valdimar Tr. Hafstein. If you watch the film (30 minutes) above or via Vimeo, be sure to circle back to the projexct website http://flightofthecondorfilm.com/ and take note of Valdimar’s new book from Indiana University Press: Making Intangible Heritage: El Condor Pasa and Other Stories from UNESCO.
Valdimar is an innovative researcher and a leading scholar in folklore studies and European ethnology. His writings on heritage policy and practice are essential contributions to the field and the new film does an outstanding job of telling a complex and compelling story in an engaging way that, in doing so, illuminates a global phenomena of importance.
While you are still feeling warm feelings about UNESCO’s recent inscription of reggae and dry stone walls on the world heritage list, watch The Flight of the Condor and think more deeply with Valdimar about the work of heritage, the circulation of cultural forms, and the ways that the contexts of our understanding can change so wildly across time, space, and social position.
I am happy to share the call for papers for the 12th joint student folklore conference organized by the students at Indiana University and the Ohio State University. Save the date and get your plans together to attend in Bloomington.
Limitations and Adaptations: Negotiating Aesthetics, Power, and Positionality
Twelfth Annual IU/OSU Student Folklore Conference
February 22–23, 2019
The Indiana University Folklore Student Association, in collaboration with the Folklore Student Association at the Ohio State University, invites submissions for the twelfth annual Indiana University / Ohio State University student folklore conference to be held in Bloomington, Indiana on February 22–23, 2019. We welcome proposals from folklore, ethnomusicology, and related disciplines. Presenters are encouraged to submit proposals related to the conference theme of “Limitations and Adaptations.” Some questions to consider could include the following:
- What limits do people face in vernacular cultural production? How are these limits formed or identified? What are the power structures behind them?
- How do limits shape artistic production?
- How do people use vernacular cultural production to transcend limits/barriers or to adapt to change/oppression?
- Does adaptation create or take place in a liminal space?
- How do people adapt to limitations cross-culturally?
- How might researchers be limited by factors such as identity, language, and environment? What impact might these limits have on selection, collection, or transmission of research?
- What is the role of the researcher in either adhering to or pushing back against limitations? Is your project overcoming limitations in some way?
Proposals for papers, posters, roundtables, panels, workshops, and other formats are welcome. All presenters should write a 250-word abstract of their presentations. Prearranged or collective sessions should additionally include a session title, 250-word session abstract, and list contacts for all members of the panel/roundtable, if relevant.
All submissions will be due via google forms by December 30, 2018.
Submission link: https://goo.gl/forms/AX0ngluMRtgLcZZy2
Housing form: https://goo.gl/forms/FnaiT2R7nLOnPMhV2
For additional questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.