Historical and theoretical discussions that describe and reflect on personal objects from a variety of perspectives.
The Cultural Power of Personal Objects seeks to understand the value and efficacy of objects, places, and times that take on cultural power and reverence to such a degree that they are treated (whether metaphorically or actually) as "persons," or as objects with "personality"—they are living objects. Featuring both historical and theoretical sections, the volume details examples of this practice, including the wampum of certain Native American tribes, the tsukumogami of Japan, the sacred keris knives of Java, the personality of seagoing ships, the ritual objects of Hinduism and Ancient Egypt, and more. The theoretical contributions aim to provide context for the existence and experience of personal objects, drawing from a variety of disciplines. Offering a variety of new philosophical perspectives on the theme, while grounding the discussion in a historical context, The Cultural Power of Personal Objects broadens and reinvigorates our understanding of cultural meaning and experience.
Jared Kemling teaches philosophy at Rend Lake College.