The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe
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Material culture research has become an increasingly important aspect of the study of early modern societies. Always the foundation of museum practice and the subject of enquiry for archaeologists and social anthropologists, it has more recently become a key feature of scholarshi...p across a wide range of humanities disciplines. Ways of presenting the objects themselves and the findings of research into them have been the focus of increasing critical attention and hence new methodologies, and materiality has come to be recognised as a central element of traditional historiographical subjects in this period, such as religious practice, social identity, power relations and global exchange. The Ashgate Research Companion to Material Culture in Early Modern Europe offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary examination of current research in the field, making it the first such volume to present a detailed yet wide-ranging consideration of the breadth and scope of research on material culture in the early modern period. It brings together essays from scholars working in a range of disciplines, and contributors include specialists from the fields of history, art history, literature and archaeology as well as museum practitioners. The volume surveys the most recent work in various disciplines, and describes the methods which have been developed within each for analysing material culture in the pre-modern period. It also discusses recent efforts to integrate these various methods into a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to the evidence which has the potential to address some of the larger questions of the study of this period, such as the relationship between public and private life, the changing connections between the sacred and the profane, or the effects of gender and social status upon lived experience. This research companion considers how such an approach might be taken further, investigating the development of a coherent agenda for material culture studies for this period before the mass production of goods.