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In the Looking Glass : Mirrors and Identity in Early America (Hardcover) (Rebecca K. Shrum)
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"In the Looking Glass explores how mirrors shaped human identity in North America from the earliest European explorations through the nineteenth century. Early Americans--African, Native, and European--had uses for and beliefs about reflective surfaces, largely associating reflection with ritual and magic, which predated the introduction of accurately reflective mirrors (ca. 1500). These new mirrors played a critical role in shaping a person's individual sense of self and came to be intimately linked to identity formation in early America. Moreover, mirrors became an object through which white men asserted their claims to modernity, emphasizing mirrors as fulcrums of truth that enabled them to know and master themselves and their world. In claiming that mirrors revealed and substantiated their own enlightenment and rationality, white men sought to differentiate how they used mirrors from not only white women but also from Native American and African American men and women. Mirrors thus played an important role in the construction of early American racial and gender hierarchies. This project brings together the history of technology and the history of identity, using textual, visual, and material sources to focus on how mirrors were created, adopted, adapted, and discussed by a wide variety of early Americans. In the Looking Glass will attract a wide audience of scholars from history, African American studies, Native American studies, material studies, history of technology, and gender studies, as well asa broader audience concerned with questions of image and identity"--Provided by publisher.
Number of Pages: 221
Genre: History, Technology, Social Science
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
Author: Rebecca K. Shrum
Street Date: July 7, 2017
Item Number (DPCI): 248-51-4938
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