Browsing Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection by Subject "Material culture"
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Art, objects, and memoriesAs humans, there are millions of factors that shape our identities. From culture, geographic location, and family life, to education, career path, and sexuality, every aspect of our lives make us who we are. For me, the work I make as an artist and a student is a result of my identity. I am a straight, half Japanese, half American, cisgendered woman, raised in the same small town for most of my life. My parents were married for over 25 years until they separated the summer before my senior year of high school. I am the third generation of my family to be living in the same childhood home. I was raised to appreciate nature, history, and to be more giving than those who gave to me. I attend a liberal college where I majored in art but took classes in history, philosophy, music, film, language, and culture. All of these things have affected my perspective of others, the world around me, and how my work fits into it. As a society that prides themselves on the things that they own and possess, what do the objects I create add? This exhibition highlights my life and how the objects I create are influenced by other objects, my identity and experiences.
Don’t keep it bottled up: an analysis of black glass wine bottles at Historic Huguenot Street New Paltz, NYHistoric Huguenot Street in New Paltz New York has been a site of human activity stretching back well over nine thousand years, including the Native American Munsee speakers and the French Huguenots who settled New Paltz in 1677. Archaeological excavations over the past twenty years have helped to uncover the rich prehistory and history at the site. In this paper I introduce and examine seventeenth century English black glass wine bottles, as objects of analysis that help illuminate the material culture and foodways of these early Huguenots. Furthermore, I demonstrate how an analysis of this material culture and their foodways, excavated from Historic Huguenot Street builds a data set on the social and economic lives of the Huguenots that the written record does not. This paper will draw heavily from the theoretical framework of Louis Binford’s trinomic categorization of artifacts into the ideotechnic, sociotechnic and technomic spheres to analyze the artifacts in question and gain insight on the interaction between the Huguenots and the world around them.
The keeper of the belt: exploring objects, family, and the Russian diasporaMy project consists of a collection of short stories which explore material culture through the lens of the Russian diaspora. Each piece gives voice to Russian immigrants who have experienced what it feels like to uproot one’s entire life and leave almost everything behind. My focus is on the items they have held on to. In preparation to tell these stories, I have examined historical texts and memoirs discussing the cultural and political structures of the Soviet Union. I have also interviewed Russian family members and friends—many of whom are represented as protagonists in their respective stories. Throughout my first of set interviews, it became evident that these individuals were deeply attached to the items they presented, and were able to tap into a reservoir of memories associated with them. I have my own set of Russian objects, which have been passed down to me by my mother, and this project has helped me pay attention to them in new ways. It has also given me the opportunity to contextualize my mother’s immigration and view it as a part of a larger experience. I am currently in the process of adding to my pool of interviews. With every story that I write, I gain a deeper understanding of what it means to have a relationship to places where you live, and the people who you love. If a photograph is known to speak a thousand words, then how many can a preserved candy wrapper say, or a loved one’s wallet?