The 1876 United States Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia was not only the United States' first important world's fair, it signaled significant changes in the very shape of knowledge. Quarrels between participants in the exhibition represented a greater conflict as the world transitioned between two different kinds of modernity--the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the High Modern period of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the center of this movement was a shift in the perceived relationship between seeing and knowing and in the perception of what makes an object valuable--its usefulness as a subject of study and ...Read More
America stocks its shelves with mass-produced goods but fills its imagination with handmade folk objects. In Pennsylvania, the ""back to the city"" housing movement causes a conflict of cultures. In Indiana, an old tradition of butchering turtles for church picnics evokes both pride and loathing among residents. In New York, folk-art exhibits raise choruses of adoration and protest. These are a few of the examples Simon Bronner uses to illustrate the ways Americans physically and mentally grasp things. Bronner moves beyond the usual discussions of form and variety in America's folk material culture to explain historical influences on, and the ...Read More
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