MyAmericanFuture

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16-17, 2012: Crowd-sourced Post on Material Culture

[Trying something new to round off the series on toys, material culture, and American Studies: a crowd-sourced post, drawn from comments and ideas shared with me by readers and fellow American Studiers. Please add yours in the comments below!]
Laura MacDonald highlights an “excellent discussion of the American Girl brand by Maurya Wickstrom in Performing Consumers (2006).”
Steve Railton remembers when hula hoops “became ubiquitous in Sunset Park, the housing development I grew up in.  My own favorite way to play with one was as a traditional hoop -- i.e. I liked seeing how far I could roll it before it fell, etc., though I'd never played with the kind of hoop that kids played with for centuries.  It is interesting to think, though, that physically adding ‘hula’ doesn't change the ‘hoop’ at all, but culturally, it sure made a huge difference in what hoops were used to do.”
Rebecca D’Orsogna notes the poster for an “Uncle Tom Opera” that appears in the background of a scene in the animated Disney film Lady and the Tramp (1955, but set in 1909).
And Rebecca also shares this very funny McSweeney’s article!
Suggested reading to follow up the Uncle Tom’s Cabin post and on the intersections between race, childhood, toys, and more: Robin Bernstein’s Racial Innocence (2011).
Responding to the post on tabletop role playing games, Kisha Tracy notes that “it's interesting (sometimes sadly, sometimes otherwise) that the table top RPG history has mostly been male. It took a very long time for women to be ‘allowed’ into it. I'm always kind of fascinated by the marginalization within marginalized groups/activities.”
Joseph Adelman shares this interview with historian Jill Lepore, on her recent/ongoing work that definitely connects to this series in lots of interesting ways.
More next week,
Ben
PS. What do you think? Plenty of room to add your voice to the mix!
6/16 Memory Day nominee: Geronimo, or Goyathlay, the Apache leader and warrior whose legendary life has inspired numerous cultural responses and texts, but should not blind us to the very real and often dark histories to which he also connects.
6/17 Memory Day nominee: James Weldon Johnson, on whom see that post!

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