(Iodine) History is Never Easy to Define

Blog #7: Reading Things We have learned through class discussion(s) that sometimes learning about an object’s history can be difficult, and it can be difficult for many reasons. It could be due to personal bias, a lack of cultural understanding, or a lack of historical context. I am definitely seeing these challenges come up as I start the research on my object, the iodine bottle. There were so many questions when I started the research for this project: should I look up the glass history? Should I look up the medical practice of prescribing alcoholic tinctures? Should I try and find out where this bottle originated from? Should I figure out what iodine (tincture) was used for? I decided to start off with digging up the history of iodine. I found an article titled “Discovery and Early Uses of Iodine” by Louis Rosenfeld from the Journal of Chemical Education (I know, boring) that discusses the discovery and early nineteenth century use of iodine. Chemical elements and compounds are things that we encounter within our lives on a daily basis. Medications and foodstuffs rely on these things to make consumers healthy and nourished. The route I have taken so far for this project has involved researching the history of iodine. This choice was partly due to my interest with the science-based side of the iodine bottle but also because it seemed to have more results than searching for “glass history” or “tincture history.” That being said, the history of iodine is not so simple at all. Many of our material objects are linked to a specific (and more than likely, famous) inventor’s name, but who invented...

What We Can Learn From the Civil War Technologies

For my timeline, I am researching about the Civil War belt buckle, which was unearthed during the construction of the MARTA rail lines. In this post I will be referring more to the Civil War than the belt buckle itself because during the Civil War, new material (i.e. technology)  highly affected the war. The Civil Wars was fought between the American North and the then Confederate South. Although many people believe that the Civil War was entirely a war about slavery, it actually was filled with many more aspects. For both sides, the soldiers fought for honor and their country; however, the wealthier class was “fighting” for different reasons. However, in accordance with this post that is not important. What I will be discussing in this post is how technology made this war different from the previous wars and how these “materials” separated this war from previous wars. The article Civil War Technology on the History website discusses the various technologies that were introduced as a result of the war or during the same time of the war. Firstly, the rifle replaced the musket because it had a longer range and a better accuracy. Due to advances in technology, it was also much faster to reload than the musket. Eventually, these rifles would also be able to hold multiple bullets before they needed to be reloaded. This transition from musket to rifle revolutionized the way that soldiers fought because they were able to stand further away from their enemy and no longer have to stand in a line to fire. This minor change completely changed the game of war...
Blog #7: Reading Things

Blog #7: Reading Things

For the first six blog prompts, I have taken charge of selecting the readings and focus of discussion. I’ve asked you to blog about the relationship between objects and writing, the sources and nature of cuteness, the uncanny lure of dead things, the histories we read in old things, how we sort tools from weapons, and what we might learn from thinking about smart things. Now it’s your turn.   Posting: Group 1 For the post, you will choose one text (it might be an article, a TED talk, a PBS documentary, a podcast, etc.–think multimodally!) you’ve encountered in your research for the timeline project that you think could add to our understanding of material culture studies as a discipline and expository writing as a material practice. In your post, which you can model on the prompts I’ve written, you should summarize the main points and significant unresolved questions raised by the text you’ve chosen. You should also identify two or three questions or threads for further thought that might be usefully explored in a blog discussion on the text you’ve chosen. For the comments, read through the posts of your peers, and weigh in on which texts, issues, and questions you’d like to explore and why. Featured Image Credit: “‘Your turn,’ she said. ‘Step up.’” by Peter Lee on...
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