Acts of Possession: Collecting in America

Rutgers University Press

Published by Rutgers University Press, 2003
ISBN 10: 0813532728 / ISBN 13: 9780813532721
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Synopsis: The success of internet auction sites like eBay and the cult status of public television's Antiques Roadshow attest to the continued popularity of collecting in American culture. Acts of Possession investigates the ways cultural meanings of collections have evolved and yet remained surprisingly unchanged throughout American history.

Drawing upon the body of theoretical work on collecting and focusing on individual as opposed to museum collections, the contributors investigate how, what, and why Americans have collected and explore the inherent meanings behind systems of organization and display. Essays consider the meanings of Thomas Jefferson's Indian Hall at Monticello; the pedagogical theories behind nineteenth-century children's curiosity cabinets; collections of Native American artifacts; and the ability of the owners of doll houses to construct meaning within the context of traditional ideals of domesticity.

The authors also consider some darker aspects of collecting-hoarding, fetishism, and compulsive behavior-scrutinizing collections of racist memorabilia and fascist propaganda. The final essay posits the serial killer as a collector, an investigation into the dangerous objectification of humans themselves.

By bringing fresh, interdisciplinary critical perspectives to bear on these questions, Dilworth and her coauthors weave a fascinating cultural history of collecting in America.

About the Author: Leah Dilworth is an associate professor of English at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus and author of Imagining Indians in the Southwest: Persistent Visions of a Primitive Past.

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Title: Acts of Possession: Collecting in America
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Rutgers University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The success of internet auction sites like e-Bay and the cult status of public television s Antiques Roadshow attest to the continued popularity of collecting in American culture. The thriving market for mass-produced collectibles confirms that consumption patterns are imbued with layers of cultural significance-meanings largely determined within the realm of the marketplace. Acts of Possession investigates the ways cultural meanings of collections have evolved and yet remained surprisingly unchanged throughout American history. Drawing upon the body of theoretical work on collecting, the contributors investigate how, what, and why Americans have collected and why they are attracted to certain objects, exploring the inherent meanings behind systems of organization and display. Essays consider the meanings of Thomas Jefferson s Indian Hall at Monticello; the pedagogical theories behind nineteenth-century children s cabinets of curiosities; collections of Native American artifacts; and the ability of the owners of dollhouses to construct meaning within the context of Victorian ideals of domesticity. The authors also consider some darker aspects of collecting-hoarding, fetishism, and compulsive behavior-scrutinizing collections of racist memorabilia and fascist propaganda. The final essay posits the serial killer as a collector, an investigation into the dangerous objectification of humans themselves. Focusing on individual as opposed to museum collections, the contributors employ the methodology of several disciplines, including American studies, history, art history, and museum studies. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780813532721

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