Friday, November 5, 2010

A New Nation of Goods

Please join us at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies on Tuesday, December 7, for a celebration of the publication of David Jaffee’s wonderful new book, A New Nation of Goods: The Material Culture of Early America, published this fall as part of the Early American Studies Series. David Jaffee teaches at the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, where he is also Head of New Media Research.

A New Nation of Goods grounds its broad narrative of cultural change in case studies of artisans, consumers, and specific artifacts. Each chapter opens with an "object lesson" and weaves an object-based analysis together with the richness of individual lives. The path that such craftspeople and consumers took was not inevitable; on the contrary, as historian David Jaffee vividly demonstrates, it was strewn with alternative outcomes, such as decentralized production with specialized makers. The richly illustrated book offers a collective biography of the post-Revolutionary generation, gathering together the case studies of producers and consumers who embraced these changes, those who opposed them, or, most significantly, those who fashioned the myriad small changes that coalesced into a new Victorian cultural order that none of them had envisioned or entirely appreciated.

We will convene at the MCEAS in the Stephanie Grauman Wolf Room at 5:00 for an informal presentation and discussion with Dr. Jaffee, followed by a reception and book-signing. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. Please RSVP to this message (or call 215-898-9251) by Friday, December 3.

McNeil Center for Early American Studies
University of Pennsylvania
3355 Woodland Walk (34th and Sansom Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4531

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