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A foundational text for the study of American material culture. Glassie’s extended essay on material folk culture (and what that term means) lacks in-depth analysis of non-Euro influences (particularly African and Native American), but still remains necessary reading for any student of material culture in America, and his scholarly call to action still rings true.
In 1968, Henry Glassie’s "Pattern in the Material Culture of the Eastern United States" began a scholarly discussion about how folk cultural information might be drawn from material culture particularly toward defining cultural regions in the Eastern United States. Glassie argued that it was not enough for folklorists and other academics to study ordinary objects in order to define them and their history and distribution, but that objects ought to be studied in order to answer deeper social ques...
I stop and revisit this classic, first met in undergrad days, every so often. Am happy to report that it's still a must-read 40 years after its original publication!
Honestly this is more like a really-extended essay review. It's hugely generalized overview of topical observations meant to create in-roads for future scholarship in an area of study that has gone almost catastrophically neglected. It does exactly what it's meant to, and while it's fascinating to someone in a Cultural Studies field of active academia, I'm pretty sure it's audience among my followers will be limited. Still, I thought it worth putting up here, just in case.The Glassie piece is a
Henry Glassie is one of my favorite scholars, and has been ever since I first read this book almost 40 years ago. This is one of his first books, and while it isn't (and doesn't claim to be) the Last Word on the subject it has been one of the most influential books in regional history and material culture studies. As usual with Glassie, it's also remarkably readable while being also scholarly. I've often recommended it to students and others, and continue to do so; I've also re-read it several t...
Five stars for its importance.