- Copyright Page
- List of Contributors
- Words or Things in American History?
- Artifacts and Their Functions
- Mastery, Artifice, and the Natural Order: A Jewel from the Early Modern Pearl Industry
- Food and Cognition: Henry Norwood’s A Voyage to Virginia
- On Pins and Needles: Straight Pins, Safety Pins, and Spectacularity
- Mind, Time, and Material Engagement
- Material Time
- Remaking the Kitchen, 1800–1850
- Boston Electric: Science by “Mail Order” and Bricolage at Colonial Harvard
- Making Knowledge Claims in the Eighteenth-Century British Museum
- The Ever-Changing Technology and Significance of Silk on the Silk Road
- Science, Play, and the Material Culture of Twentieth-Century American Boyhood
- The Sensory Web of Vision: Enchantment and Agency in Religious Material Culture
- Sensiotics, or the Study of the Senses in Material Culture and History in Africa and Beyond
- The Numinous Body and the Symbolism of Human Remains
- Symbolic Things and Social Performance: Christmas Nativity Scenes in Late Nineteenth-Century Santiago de Chile
- Heritage Religion and the Mormons
- From Confiscation to Collection: The Objects of China’s Cultural Revolution
- Persons and Things in Marseille and Lucca, 1300–1450
- Cloth and the Rituals of Encounter in La Florida: Weaving and Unraveling the Code
- Street “Luxuries”: Food Hawking in Early Modern Rome
- Ebony and Ivory: Pianos, People, Property, and Freedom on the Plantation, 1861–1870
- The Material Culture of Furniture Production in the British Colonies
- Material Culture, Museums, and the Creation of Multiple Meanings
- Chronology and Time: Northern European Coastal Settlements and Societies, c. 500–1050
- Materialities in the Making of World Histories: South Asia and the South Pacific
- Mapping History in Clay and Skin: Strategies for Remembrance among Ga’ anda of Northeastern Nigeria
- Remember Me: Sensibility and the Sacred in Early Mormonism
- Housing History: The Colonial Revival as Consumer Culture
- Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object
Abstract and Keywords
The study of material culture is changing the way we perceive and study the past, as well as how we understand the process of human becoming. This chapter proposes that a focus on the phenomenon of material engagement provides a productive means to situate and integrate evolutionary, historical, and developmental processes. The material engagement approach brings with it a relational conceptualization of human cognition as profoundly embodied, enacted, extended, and distributed. This conceptualisation opens the way to, on the one hand, reanimate the importance of history and development in the study of human cognitive evolution, and on the other hand, allow a new approach to historical analysis, one in which minds and things play a more central role. Specifically, we explore some of the implications of the view that humans and things coconstitute each other for understanding the processes by which human cognitive abilities develop and change in different cultural and historical contexts.
Lambros Malafouris is Johnson Research and Teaching Fellow in Creativity, Cognition and Material Culture, Keble College, University of Oxford.
Chris Gosden is Chair and Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Keble College, University of Oxford.
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