Thursday, July 4, 2013

The material culture of parenting

The parenthropologist is kicking off her sabbatical with a 4-week seminar on 19th century American material culture sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and held at Bard Graduate Center. 

Being accustomed to working with people, I feel a bit adrift working with objects. Frustratingly, they cannot talk to me.

The question that I bring to the seminar is this:

Parenting in twenty-first century America is understood to be an enterprise that requires the acquisition of new clothes, accessories, furnishings, gadgets, devices, and all manner of stuff and gear for parents and children alike. How have we come to accumulate so much for the purpose of childrearing? What things did the raising of children require in the past? 


View of billboard visible from NYC's High Line



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