Saturday, September 1, 2007
Who doesn't love history?
As I was leaving class yesterday and walking out of the classroom building, I passed a class that was still in lecture. It had a powerpoint presentation of some sort. Long steps on how to do some equation or something. I had to chuckle to myself because I thought about how boring that must be day in and day out given the conservations that had just occurred in my Material Culture class. We had been discussing how changes in material culture can reflect larger changes in society. Our area of focus was the eve of the American Revolution when there was an increase an individualization. Houses got bigger because people wanted their own rooms and privacy. Ceramics flourished because instead of sharing one trough for food, people got their own place settings. Lots of things we take for granted today were just developing then. The professor told a story about working at Colonial Williamsburg and how they have butt scrapers as some of the material culture there. Butt scrapers being just that, rudimentary, reuseable toilet paper. Butt scrapers were chunks of bone with each person's named scratched on them... because of course, you wouldn't want to use someone else's butt scraper. It's hard to believe that everyone doesn't want to major in History with stories like that circulating in class. I know I'll never quite look at toilet paper the same way ever again!