As part of my preparation for prelims this week, I have been reading a lot of work on material culture. I have read about changing habits of cleanliness, the construction of female lineage through the gifting of cupboards and linens, and the development of the European taste for sugar. As a result of this reading, I started thinking about what things in my house a historian of material culture could use to reconstruct my life and what these items might say about me. I also thought about those items that had particular meaning for me but whose meaning prove elusive for others.
Here’s a partial list of the things that stick out in mind:
– the letter “K” cake topper from my wedding
– the crystal bowl from Tiffany’s that I received as a wedding gift from Teresa Heinz Kerry (long story)
– my American Girl doll
– a clown stuffed animal from my childhood
– our china cabinet
– my stand mixer
– my cupcake stand
– a seed bead necklace from my aunt
– a reindeer stuffed animal my Uncle Chris gave me
– the bamboo plants we gave as wedding favors
– the green paint I insisted painting our walls
– the teapot I painted at the pottery store
Glee is a guilty pleasure. Lately the show has become more schizophrenic and at the same time ideologically subtle than usual. One week high school cheerleaders are debasing themselves in hallucinogenic Britney Spears covers; the next, members of the glee club are discussing belief through a variety of “spiritual” popular songs. The second of these two trends is a perfect representation of the religiously based secularism that has become American civil religion and, not surprisingly, popular culture. Continue reading
I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but life – moving, prelims, teaching, etc. – has always intervened. Liz’s gentle nudging, however, has finally convinced me that I need to stop putting it off.
As most of you who have read the short biographies we wrote of ourselves for this blog, I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t believe in the restoration or that Lamanites and Nephites once inhabited ancient America. I see the Book of Mormon as a sacred text for others, but not for me. In many ways, I am an outsider to the Mormon Church and write its history as such. Continue reading
For one of my classes last semester, I put together a research guide to aid researchers with work on women in American religious history. It’s basic and somewhat of a pastiche, but it does collect some print and online sources that will be useful for newbies and oldies in the field. The print sources are linked to the catalogue of the Yale University libraries. The guide will be a permanent part of the blog, in the masthead. I welcome comments, suggestions for additions, etc. Have fun!