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Theoretical Perspectives, Methodological Approaches and Ethnographic Insights

Cordula Endter, Anamaria Depner, and Anna Wanka

traditions in material culture studies ( Hahn 2005 ; Miller 1998 ; Warnier 2001 ), the materialities of age and ageing tend to be neglected in anthropological age studies. Thus, this special issue sets out to strengthen a research perspective that takes the

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A Hybrid New World… or Not?

Transformation versus Hybridisation in Early Modern World

Fatima Essadek

and beliefs were successfully suppressed, several components of their material culture persisted. The survival of such objects denotes that hybridisation was more feasible and detectable in material culture than in the sphere of cultural habits and in

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Paul Stock

article uses insights from material culture studies and actor-network theory to discuss ways of re-framing agency as an assemblage of human and non-human affects. Agency can thus be defined not in terms of first causes and definitive outcomes, but instead

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Na Li

as public memory. Nature as Material Culture: The Dredging History of West Lake The idea of the “environment” first emerged at the end of the fourth century. Lingyun Xie, the first landscape poet, viewed the environment as an interrelated

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Janet Seow

barriers, black girls are forced to navigate two worlds because they see a limited reflection of themselves in children's material culture. Without a reference, they are left to create their own, which they do through doll play. The available black dolls

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Emily Jean Leischner

. Anthropology museums owe much of their collections to the violence of empire and colonialism, benefiting from the theft of Indigenous land and the displacement and relocation of Indigenous, Black, and brown bodies and material culture—they “pillage, pillaged

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Bruno Haas, Philipp Schorch, and Michael Mel

The material culture of present-day Papua New Guinea has played a central role throughout the history of the academic discipline of anthropology. 1 When this part of the world was drawn into the sphere of German imperial ambitions—starting in the

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Godless People and Dead Bodies

Materiality and the Morality of Atheist Materialism

Jacob Copeman and Johannes Quack

Atheists are not the only people who donate their bodies, yet the practice is strikingly prevalent in a variety of atheist circles. We concentrate here on the Indian case, exploring body donation as a key instance of the material culture of atheism. Recent efforts to reinvigorate study of the material culture of religion are to be welcomed, but they should be extended to non-religion in order to address the irony that sees scholars representing materialism as an abstract doctrine and, hence, as immaterial. Body donation holds value for Indian atheists as a bridge between 'positive' and 'negative' modes of atheist thought and action. It also provides a ready-made solution for atheist activists keen to circumvent the cadaver-centered death rituals they find so redundant.

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Adam Drazin and Simon Roberts

Ethnographic work conducted by the Digital Health Group, Intel Ireland, explores the questions of how concepts of health and independence relate to peoples' lives in later life. This paper serves to present artistic approaches to the design of the material culture in elderly homes in Ireland, and aims to highlight and discuss the merits and problems of such approaches. Through writing 'in miniature' about specific experiences and homes, we propose that it is possible to develop explorations of material objects in the home which, rather than presenting material contexts as terminal 'conclusions' to the research process, use them as provoking and questioning resources for engaged dialogical encounters with informants.

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Houses for the Curious

Curating between Medicine, Life and Art

Ken Arnold

This article considers a curiosity-driven approach to curating focused on material culture that visitors encounter in physical spaces. Drawing on research into historical curiosity cabinets, it explores how a contemporary notion of curiosity has been put into practice in the new breed of culturally enlightened museums exploring interdisciplinary approaches to medicine, health, life, and art. Based on an inaugural professorial address at Copenhagen University, it reflects on exhibition projects there and at the Wellcome Collection in London. Museums are institutional machines that generate social understanding from material things. Their physical spaces influence how we learn, think, and feel in public; their material collections feed our comprehension, imagination, and emotions; and induce attentive behavior in curators and visitors.