Essays in Material Culture

Essays In Material Culture by: Kenneth Haltman and Jules David Prown

  • Prownian Analysis – a means of identifying, analyzing and categorizing objects in Historical Archaeology.
  • Etymological– relating to the origin and historical development of words and their meanings.
  • Metaphysical- relating to metaphysics; the essentially metaphysical question of the nature of the mind.
  • Phenomenologically- relating to the science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being.
  • Polarities- the property or characteristic that produces unequal physical effects at different points in a body or system, as a magnet or storage battery.
  • Intertextual- interrelationships relationship between texts especially works of literature.

Identifying an object

Understanding why an object holds historical significance. Once you identifying an object or text you need to understand the significant value it holds to you individually.

In order to have a better understanding of the significance of an object we need to find the polarity in the object such a hot/cold soft/hard life/death. When expressing your interpretation of an essay, you need to make sure you organize your thoughts methodically.

Material Cultural intellectual and sensory responses

As I read and analyze an essay and or image I need to keep in mind the object of a material cultural and the importance of choosing my personal view and linguistic wisely. How I interpret a visual object has to do with my personal experience because the way I interpret an image or text will not be the same another person will. By having a diverse cultural life experience you will have knowledge and a better way of articulating your interpretation of an object. By having life experiences and evaluating image or text remaining neutral, your audience wouldn’t feel that the author has cultural biased or critical assumption that was translated.

Evaluating Emotional Response.

When assessing an object I need understand the mental reasoning behind why an object or subject makes me feel a certain way and why. By understanding myself, it aids me with the ability to relate to the authors conveyance and my personal understanding of my emotional connection.

With that knowledge, I would understand why I have a emotional connection with an object and or subject.

Evaluating Research, Speculations and Creativity

By understanding an object culturally, intellectually, emotionally you then create your own understanding of an object. By comprehending the different metaphors and the relationship behind all the analyses and research you perceive then in return creates my own personal speculations. Narrowing your research in a simplistic direction helps you convey your message


Haltman and Prown- Summary and Thesis Statement.

In the “ Essay In Material Culture” by Haltman and Prown which they convey how scholars and students interpret an object and the significances of an object. As a matter of fact, when you pinpoint an object you first must be able to understand the significant value that object has culturally, intellectually, physically, emotionally and creatively. For instance, by having divers cultural life experiences you will interpret a  in-depth polarity material expressions of formal oppositions such as hot and cold  light and dark in an effective analytic assessment.  Haltman and Prown conveyed the significant value an object or text embraces culturally, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and creatively will define your interpretation.

Work Cited

Jules David Prown and Kenneth Haltman, eds. American Artifacts: Essays in Material Culture. East Lansing: Michigan State University, 2000.

Unit 1 Jan-11 Reading Response A&B Questions

Blog Post “Essay in Material Culture”.

  1. Haltman in “Essay in Material Culture” crafted a method that has changed the way I interpret and perceive objects and text. Along with extensive vocabulary and in depth descriptions of how we identify an object in cultural material, emotionally and intellectually. As a result of applying his method to my writing process will aid me in conveying a structural and non-biased opinion. By taking into consideration the choice of words will not convey the audience to believe that it’s a biased or critical viewpoint?
  2. “Thoroughly describe the object, paying careful attention, as relevant, to all of its aspects-materials, spatial, and temporal”.

“Producing a sketch or schematic drawing may further this process, but avoid using precious words at this point on introductions, conclusions, restatements of the assignment, or autobiographical confessions; just describe what you see.”

These quote from Haltmans text communicated to me that visually imagining an “ object” will aid you in your word choice with the conveyance of your interpretation. By understanding and unraveling the profane language that an author is trying to deliver will assist you in your clarification of your own interpretation. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this “Essays in Material Culture” by Haltman. I took away very important key methods that will be applicable to my daily life on how and why I interpret a passage and or an object a certain way.