superfluous%20things

superfluous%20things - Class, Taste, Anxiety, and Material...

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Class, Taste, Anxiety, and Material Culture in China Reading: Craig Clunas, Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China
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Class, Gender, Anxiety, and Material Culture in Movies “Raise the Red Lanterns” Director: Zhang Yimou Things: House: structure, rooms, décor, Lanterns: color, state, movement, Table = family Utensils: smashing dishes Doll Writing Association of things w/ activities, status, age
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Double Meanings title of book (triple meanings?) What do our things say about us? Contradictions
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Book written at Victoria & Albert Museum: ground central for things Texts favored as explanations of things But written by fallible humans Taste as class marker in age of anxiety China joins talk about material & modernity
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Themes How people looked at things in Ming (1368 - 1644) Especially reign of the Wanli emperor (1573-1620) China enters world economy Luxury goods are manipulated socially
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Late Ming Books on Things Elites concerned w/ manufactured goods as challenge to their power Luxury goods can cause social conflict Texts on connoisseurship = guides for scholar of elegant taste Instructions on how to pose as elite Start in 12th c. Compiled/copied in encyclopedias
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Early Example: Essential Criteria of Antiquities (14th c.) Collector’s manual Concerns valuable early products Social message of objects supreme Concern w/ authenticity Author claims objectivity Anxiety about forgery show it existed Result: Knowledge becomes commodity Followed by more books on proper elite consumption
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“8 Discourses on the Art of Living,” by Gao Lian 1591 Author has problematic social status & education: multiple personalities Fake epitaph for father Hung out w/ literati-official elite Daoist recluse Medical specialist Only his writing on things lasted
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8 Discourses Scholar-official’s things of daily life
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This note was uploaded on 03/11/2010 for the course HIEA 128 taught by Professor Cahill during the Summer '09 term at UCSD.

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superfluous%20things - Class, Taste, Anxiety, and Material...

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