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His and Hers

Gender, Consumption, and Technology
Roger Horowitz and Arwen Mohun, eds.


BUY Paper · 240 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813918020 · $35.00 · Aug 1998

The pathbreaking essays in this collection explore the history of consumption by synthesizing discrete historical literatures on consumer culture, gender, and the history of technology. Luxury hotels and the chocolate industry are among the diverse array of topics these authors use to demonstrate that consumption is both a material and a cultural process. Production and consumption become equally inextricable under close analysis. Tools from both the history of technology and gender studies illuminate how these categories intersect. Although broad social and technological trends influence the outcome of these stories, the authors emphasize the agaency of particular groups, including consumers, workers, manufacturers, and the "mediators" who communicate between producers and consumers. This volume will be of interest to historians in a wide range of fields.

Reviews:


His and Hers builds a foundation for the synthesis of two of the most exciting fields in scholarship today: cultural studies and the history of technology. Hayden White first helped open up the domain of cultural studies in history by arguing that ideas and images not only reflect culture, they serve to construct it. This book takes that idea a step further, systematically showing how culture gets inscribed into artifacts and how human intermediation and negotiation construct the meanings of objects and culture.

Robert L. Frost, University of Michigan

About the Author: 

Roger Horowitz is Associate Director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware. He is the author of "Negro and White, Unite and Fight!" A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-1990. Arwen Mohun is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Delaware and the author of the forthcoming Close to Home: Gender and Technology in the British and American Steam Laundry Industries, 1880-1940.

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