Saturday, March 31, 2018

Book News: War Matters

For some reason, Civil War archaeology books have dried up in recent years. It's too bad. I very much enjoyed reading about the modern interdisciplinary approach and what it can teach us about the history and material culture of the period. Joan Cashin's upcoming War Matters: Material Culture in the Civil War Era (UNC, October 2018) isn't necessarily about items dug up out of the ground, but it does agree with archaeologists that "(m)aterial objects lie at the crux of understanding individual and social relationships in history."

From the description: "The essays in this volume [from Lisa M. Brady, Peter S. Carmichael, Earl J. Hess, Robert Hicks, Victoria Ott, Jason Phillips, Timothy Silver, Yael Sternhell, Sarah Jones Weicksel, Mary Saracino Zboray, and Ronald J. Zboray] consider a wide range of material objects, including weapons, Revolutionary artifacts, landscapes, books, vaccine matter, human bodies, houses, clothing, and documents. Together, the contributors argue that an examination of the meaning of material objects can shed new light on the social, economic, and cultural history of the conflict. This book will fundamentally reshape our understanding of the war."

This arrangement of inviting a group of scholars to discuss items and their meaning sort of reminds me of Gallman and Gallagher's Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War.

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