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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Gender and Material Culture in Britain since 1600

ISBN 9781137340641
Publication Date November 2015
Formats Paperback Ebook Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave
Series Gender and History

What does material culture tell us about gendered identities and how does gender reveal the meaning of spaces and things?

If we look at the objects that we own, covet and which surround us in our everyday culture, there is a clear connection between ideas about gender and the material world. This book explores the material culture of the past to shed light on historical experiences and identities. Some essays focus on specific objects, such as an eighteenth-century jug or a twentieth-century powder puff, others on broader material environments, such as the sixteenth-century guild or the interior of a twentieth-century pub, while still others focus on the paraphernalia associated with certain actions, such as letter-writing or maintaining eighteenth-century men's hair.

Written by scholars in a range of history-related disciplines, the essays in this book offer exposés of current research methods and interests. These demonstrate to students how a relationship between material culture and gender is being addressed, while also revealing a variety of intellectual approaches and topics.

Hannah Greig is Senior Lecturer in History and a member of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York, UK.

Jane Hamlett is Reader in Modern British History at Royal Holloway University of London, UK, where she is Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture.

Leonie Hannan is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen's University, Belfast, UK.

Introduction: Gender and Material Culture
1. Gender and Material Culture in the Early Modern London Guilds
2. Women's Letters: Eighteenth-Century Letter-Writing and the Life of the Mind
3. Men's Hair: Managing Appearances in the Long Eighteenth Century
4. Craftsmen in Common: Objects, Skills and Masculinity in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
5. Stitching Women: Unpicking Histories of Victorian Clothes
6. Grooming Men: The Material World of the Nineteenth-Century Barbershop
7. Queer Things: Men and Make-Up between the Wars
8. Manly Drinkers: Masculinity and Material Culture in the Interwar Public House
Concluding Remarks
Key Texts.


Why are pens seldom gendered while shoes are? Why should girls play with dolls and not boys? Gender and Material Culture is a unique contribution to what has been defined as a material turn in history, covering hitherto unexplored areas of the complex relationship between gender and material things in Britain since the seventeenth century.' – Giorgio Riello, University of Warwick, UK
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