Material Women, 1750–1950
Consuming Desires and Collecting Practices
With the volume's global perspective and comparative framework, this collection contributes to the ongoing scholarly examination of consumption by taking the topic of women, material culture, and consumption into new arenas. The essays explore the connections between consumption and subjectivity; they build upon and complicate the idea that consumption, as a form of meaning making, is key to the construction of gendered, classed, and national identities. Providing a cross-cultural perspective on consumption, the essays are historically specific case studies. While some essays examine women's consumption in a range of Anglophone and Francophone locations, primarily in Britain, France, Australia, Canada, and the US, other essays on Chinese, Senegalese, Indian, and Mexican women's consumption, particularly as it relates to fashion and design, provide a comparative framework that will recalibrate ongoing discussions about consumption and domesticity, dress and identity, and desire and subjectivity. In addition to its focus on gender and consumption, this volume addresses gender and collecting, exploring the tensions between accumulation and systematic collecting. Also examined is the way in which the display of collected objects”in Impressionists' paintings, in mass-produced illustrations, in the glass cases of museums and department stores”participates in the construction of particular identities as well as serving as a kind of value-producing material practice.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: consumption as a gendered social practice, Beth Fowkes Tobin; Consuming Desires: 'The things I so indispensably needed': material objects as a reflection of Mary Shelley's life, Pamela Siska; Material women: the department-store fashion poster in Paris, 1880-1900, Ruth E. Iskin; Nostalgic appetites: female desire and wartime rationing in Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts and Noel Streatfield's Saplings, Andrea Adolph. Home and Consumption: A touch of distinction: furnishing French aristocratic homes in the 19th and 20th centuries, Elizabeth C. Macknight; 'Novel and ingenious': innovative graphic arts in the women's magazines of the 1840s and the construction of middle-class taste, Cynthia Patterson; The woman's paradise: the American fantasy, home appliances, and consumer demand in liberation France, Rebecca J. Pulju; Talking points: advertising female telephone identity, Emily Bills. Dress: Gendered and Political Identities: Trans-coding nationalism: subjectivity and military themes in Regency women's dress, Ellen Kennedy Johnson; 'The beauty of her hands': the glove and the making of middle-class body, Ariel Beaujot; Made for maharanis: aesthetics of courtly women in colonial princely India, Angma D. Jhala; Harmony and concealment: how Chinese women fashioned the qipao in 1930s China, Wessie Ling; Women, clothing and politics in Senegal in the 1940s-1950s, Dior Konaté. Collecting, Displaying, and Creating Value: The duchess's shells: natural history collecting, gender, and scientific practice, Beth Fowkes Tobin; Woman of letters: Elizabeth Gaskell's autograph collection and Victorian celebrity, Pamela Corpron Parker; The women of Liulichang: female collectors and bibliophiles in the late Qing, Shana J. Brown; Japanese objects in Impressionist women's art: collecting culture and creating identity, Jennifer T. Criss; The female past and modernity: displaying women and things in New Zealand department stores, expositions, and museums, 192
Maureen Daly Goggin is Associate Chair in the Department of English at Arizona State University, USA.
Beth Fowkes Tobin is Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Georgia, USA.