Select Page

Things in Motion

Object Itineraries in Anthropological Practice

Edited by Rosemary A. Joyce and Susan D. Gillespie

Complementing the concept of object biography, the contributors to this volume use the complex construct of “itineraries” to trace the places in which objects come to rest or are active, the routes through which things circulate, and the means by which they are moved. The contributors advocate for a broader engagement with the mobility of things, from the point at which things emerge from source material to the organization of their manufacture and use, their subsequent movements as mediated by economic and ritual exchanges, their deposition in places that become archaeological sites, their emergence through research and subsequent curation in museum collections, and their circulation in the contemporary world, including through reproduction in other media. Ultimately, the contributors explore movement as a fundamental capacity of things and demonstrate the dynamic capacity of things in motion.

2015. 304 pp., figures, maps, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Alexander Bauer, Elliot Blair, Susan D. Gillespie, Marta Diaz Guardamino, David L. Haskell, Rosemary A. Joyce, Heather Law Pezzarossi, Andrew Roddick, Neill Wallis, Jonathan R. Walz

Download an excerpt.

Things in Motion makes stimulating reading for a broad readership; anyone interested in relations between people and things will find much to reward them here. . . . It is a fascinating text.”
—Sandra H. Dudley, University of Leicester, American Anthropologist 119(3)

Things in Motion offers a refreshing and provocative perspective that moves scholars beyond a biographical approach to objects and toward a consideration of their dynamic routes and itineraries. Global examples drawn from archaeological and museum contexts illustrate the persuasive power of these new intellectual developments. This volume will prove essential reading for all archaeologists and anthropologists currently engaged in theorizing the material world.”
—Lynn Meskell, Department of Anthropology, Director, Stanford Archaeology Center

“Ultimately the contributors to this volume offer insightful and coherent investigations into the dynamism of material culture and the connections which can be drawn between past and present, Things in Motion adds new breadth and depth to materiality studies.”
—Lindsay M. Montgomery, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Journal of Anthropological Research, Spring 2017

“This text is written for theoretically engaged, museum-based and material culture-oriented anthropologists. Though many of the cases analyze archaeological materials, its emphasis on movement can be used to invigorate approaches to museum collections documentation and research, and collaborative practice in how objects—particularly those in museums—continue to be mobilized over time by anthropologists, source communities, and publics.”
—Catherine A. Nichols, Loyola University Chicago, Museum Anthropology Review, Fall 2016


List of Figures

  1. Making Things out of Objects That Move
    Rosemary A. Joyce and Susan D. Gillespie
  2. Things in Motion: Itineraries of Ulua Marble Vases
    Rosemary A. Joyce
  3. Journey’s End(?): The Travels of La Venta Offering 4
    Susan D. Gillespie
  4. Places to Go and Social Worlds to Constitute: The Fractal Itinerary of Tarascan Obsidian Idols in Prehispanic Mexico
    David L. Haskell
  5. Glass Beads and Global Itineraries
    Elliot H. Blair
  6. Stones in Movement: Tracing the Itineraries of Menhirs, Stelae, and Statue-Menhirs in Iberian Landscapes
    Marta Díaz-Guardamino
  7. Geologies in Motion: Itineraries of Stone, Clay, and Pots in the Lake Titicaca Basin
    Andrew Roddick
  8. The Kula of Long-Term Loans: Cultural Object Itineraries and the Promise of the Postcolonial “Universal” Museum
    Alexander A. Bauer
  9. Healing Space-Time: Medical Performance and Object Itineraries on a Tanzanian Landscape
    Jonathan R. Walz
  10. Native Basketry and the Dynamics of Social Landscapes in Southern New England
    Heather Law Pezzarossi
  11. The Living Past: Itineraries of Swift Creek Images through Wood, Earthenware, and Ether
    Neill J. Wallis
There are no working papers for this book at the present time.