Ivy Leaf - Spring 2014
Kevin M. Moist, associate professor of communications, has had a new edited collection, Contemporary Collecting: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things, published by Scarecrow Press. The book assembles thirteen essays that consider the changing status and role of objects in our lives in the age of mass media and the Internet. In addition to editing the volume in conjunction with David Banash of Western Illinois University, Moist also contributes its closing chapter, “Record Collecting as Cultural Anthropology.”
While the importance of collections has been evident in the sciences and humanities for several centuries, only recently has serious attention been paid to the actual practice of collecting. Contemporary Collecting approaches collecting within the larger cultural perspective of humans’ relationships with objects, whether those are social, psychological, aesthetic, economic, or institutional. All of those factors have changed significantly over time, and continue to do so; what objects are deemed worthy of setting aside, the practices by which they are assembled, and who is authorized to do so have varied greatly across different times and places, and are undergoing especially rapid change today due to developments in popular culture, media, and technology.
The essays in Contemporary Collecting cover a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives and collecting examples—from MP3 files to sports memorabilia to Nazi trading cards to PEZ dispensers—and are arranged around themes of “Collecting in a Virtual World,” “Changing Relationships with Things,” “Collecting and Identity—Personal and Political,” and “Collecting Practices and Cultural Hierarchies.”