The Object Reader
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This unique collection frames the classic debates on objects and aims to generate new ones by reshaping the ways in which the object can be taught and studied, from a wide variety of disciplines and fields.
The Object Reader elucidates objects in many of their diverse roles, dynamics and capacities. Precisely because the dedicated study of objects does not reside neatly within a single discipline, this collection is comprised of numerous academic fields. The selected writings are drawn from from anthropology, art history, classical studies, critical theory, cultural studies, digital media, design history, disability studies, feminism, film and television studies, history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, social studies of science and technology, religious studies and visual culture.
The collection, composed of twentieth and twenty-first century writing also seeks to make its own contribution through original work, in the form of twenty-five short 'object lessons' commissioned specifically for this project. These new and innovative studies from key writers across a range of disciplines will enable students to look upon their surroundings with trained eyes to search out their own 'object studies'.
Table of Contents
Nicolas Mirzoeff. Foreword Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins. ‘Introducing Objects’ I. Object Marcel Mauss. ‘Gifts and the Obligation to Return Gifts’ Georg Lukács. ‘The Phenomenon of Reification’, in History and Class Consciousness, Rodney Livingston Roland Barthes. ‘Toys’ Jean Baudrillard. ‘Subjective Discourse or The Non-Functional System of Objects’ D.W. Winnicott. ‘Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena’ Tim Ingold. ‘On Weaving a basket’ Page Dubois. ‘Dildos’ II. Thing Martin Heidegger. ‘The Thing’ Elizabeth Grosz. ‘The Thing’ Bill Brown. ‘Thing Theory’ Bruno Latour. ‘From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public’ Julian Bleecker. ‘Why Things Matter: A Manifesto for Networked Objects – Cohabiting with Pigeons, Arphids, Aibos in the Internet of Things.’ III. Objects and Agency Peter Brown. ‘Praesentia’ Michael Taussig. ‘In some way or another one can protect oneself from the spirits by portraying them’ Alfred Gell. ‘The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology’ Bruno Latour. ‘Where Are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts’ IV. Object Experience Walter Benjamin. ‘Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting’ Wiebe E. Bijker. ‘King of the Road: The Social Construction of the Safety Bicycle’ Vivian Sobchack. ‘A Leg to Stand On: Prosthetics, Metaphor, and Materiality’ Sherry Turkle. ‘Objects Inspire’ V. The Objecthood of Images Michael Fried. ‘Art and Objecthood’ Siegfried Kracauer. ‘Calico-World: The UFA City in Neubabelsberg’ Elizabeth Edwards. ‘Photographs as Objects of Memory’ Maurice M. Manring. ‘Aunt Jemima Explained: The Old South, the Absent Mistress and the Slave in a Box’ VI. Leftovers Barbara Penner. ‘A World of Unmentionable Suffering: Women’s Public Conveniences in Victorian London’ Celeste Olalquiaga. ‘Holy Kitschen: Collecting Religious Junk from the Street’ Julian Stallabrass. ‘Trash’ Christina Lindsay. ‘From the Shadows: Users as Designers, Producers, Marketers, Distributors, and Technical Support’ VII. Object Lessons Anne Friedberg. AIBO Anna Beatrice Scott. Bouncing in the Streets: a performance remix Ruud Kalingfreks. Broken Mug Michelle Henning. The Cosmic Symbol Tara McPherson. The Eames Chair Susan Pearce. A Flake of Paint Henry Lowood. Game Counter Jill Cook. The Grays Inn Lane Handaxe Curtis Marez. The Homies, or The Last Angel of History in Silicon Valley Guy Julier. Inside and outside the iPod Penny Sparke. The LC4 Chaise Longue by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, 1928 Griselda Pollock. Maternal Object: Matrixial Subject Raiford Guins. Mermaid’s Tears Victor Margolin. The Museum of Corntemporary Art Adrian Rifkin. No thing to regret... Alexander R. Galloway. Pixel Laura U. Marks. My Rock Carolyn Thomas de la Peña. Saccharin Sparrow (circa 1955) Georgina Kleege. My Secret Weapon Laurie Beth Clarke. Shin’s Tricycle Esther Leslie. Snow Shaker Peter Lunenfeld. Ten Foot, Four Heidi Cooley. Thumbnail Erica Rand. What Lube Goes Into Fiona Candlin. Yesterday, Upon The Stair VIII. An Object Bibliography
Fiona Candlin is Lecturer in Museum Studies and Lifelong Education. Her lectureship in Museum Studies is jointly held by Birkbeck College and The British Museum. Dr. Candlin’s initial brief was to develop research and teaching related to the museums’ collections and she now runs the World Arts and Artefacts diploma.
Raiford Guins is Assistant Professor of Digital Cultural Studies at the Department of Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies and Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture & Technology, State University of New York, Stony Brook.