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26 Sept 2013. “ order concerns”. “Higher Order Concerns”: Big Picture Topic Audience Thesis Statement & Purpose Organization Supporting data “Lower Order Concerns”: Mechanics spelling grammar punctuation sentence structure word choice syntax (word order)

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26 sept 2013

26 Sept 2013

Order concerns
order concerns”

  • “Higher Order Concerns”: Big Picture

    • Topic

    • Audience

    • Thesis Statement & Purpose

    • Organization

    • Supporting data

  • “Lower Order Concerns”: Mechanics

    • spelling

    • grammar

    • punctuation

    • sentence structure

    • word choice

    • syntax (word order)

  • Higher & Lower Order Concerns necessary for success!

Mla format

  • MLA style is the style of writing used by Modern Language Association as reflected in the journal published by the organization--PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association) and kindred journals.

  • You need to use it.

  • Let’s go right to the source:

    • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/675/01/

Writing assignment due oct 3
Writing Assignment Due Oct 3

  • Short Paper #1: Object Description and Provenance

  • In this assignment, you will describe the provenance of an object from a museum collection. You will describe the context of its production and then include information on how the object came to be part of the museum collection.

  • In writing your paper, please include make sure that the following steps have been included:

  • A description and image of the object (1-2 paragraphs)

  • Use secondary sources to describe the context of its production:

    • the period in which this object has emerged and how it was used (2-3 paragraphs)

  • Document the provenance or history of that particular object according to the records available in the museum or online (3-4 paragraphs)

    • Use as much information as you can: online information on museum website, accession files and possibly contacting the museum's to find out as much as you can about the history of that particular object

    • This can oftentimes be an exhaustive search. Don’t get caught up here. Keep it short!

  • list works used to write your essay

Primary sources
Primary Sources

  • A primary source is the original document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. The material or first-hand information. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.

  • Some types of primary sources include:

    • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 

    • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 

    • OBJECTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Secondary sources
Secondary Sources

  • A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. Secondary sources include comments on, interpretations of, or discussions about the original material. You can think of secondary sources as second-hand information.

  • Some types of secondary sources include:

    • PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias 

More complete provenance
More complete provenance


Bronze plaque

West Africa, 14th-16thcentuires


Provenance:Donor: Mr. Oric Bates (1916)

Collector: British Punitive Force (1897)Dealer: William O. Oldman

Not so much
Not so much


Restrung necklaces of stone, bone, pottery, shell, metal & glass beads

From Lima, Peru

Things to consider
Things to consider

  • Role of the curator

    • voice and intent

    • Importance of documentation and research

    • Institutional restrictions

    • Anxieties about challenging audiences

    • Teaching students to become better researchers

  • Dissemination of knowledge to the public

    • See Fowle’s chapter in Cautionary Tales

  • Who can add content?

    • Simon’s chapter in Letting Go, p. 22

    • Participatory curating

    • Museum as a place of dialogue

    • How do museums respond?

What is an object biography
What is an object biography?

  • Broadly, all objects in the museum have a life (or series of different lives).

  • They are made, used and then come into the museum.

  • Each object has a story to tell, a story shaped by human use.

  • How do we write the narrative? And why?


  • Understand your context: colonial New England

  • Identify an object

  • What is it?

  • Where is it now and how did it get there: provenance

  • What is its date?

  • What was its function?

  • Who made, owned, or used the object?

  • What then can we learn of context and social life?

  • Your thesis question: problemitize your artifact and discuss its relevance to the colonial period. What does the object tell us that wasn’t know before? What insight on the colonial period do we get from an object?

The object
The object

  • Pierced coin

  • Legend “CARO D G MAG BRI” and on reverse, crowned harp with legend “FRA ET HIB REX”

  • Markings identify the coin as Richmond farthing minted during the reign of Charles I (1625-1649)

  • Currently located in PMAE storage

The context
The context

  • Recovered from the cellar of the Old College building during archaeological investigations in the 1980s.

  • Other objects in that context included 17th-century material: ceramics, glassware, tobacco pipes, etc.

  • Other coins recovered from Harvard Yard and sites in Chesapeake (Jamestown)

Colonial money
Colonial money

  • Currency not common in British colonies

  • Colonists bartered for goods, also used other forms of colony currency including wampum and tobacco

Costs for attending harvard in 17th century
Costs for attending Harvard in 17th century

  • Tuition: 8s

  • Bed-making: 1s7d

  • Study rent

  • Commons and sizings

  • Detriments

  • Tuition paid with food (cattle, mutton, wheat, corn, rye, barley, butter, eggs), goods (shoes), and wampum

  • So coins as currency weren’t necessarily needed in this context

  • What were other uses of coins?

Would pierced coins be part of the dress code
Would pierced coins be part of the dress code?

  • flamboyant fashion as disorderly

  • sumptuary laws loudly enforced a modest and conservative style of dress among all inhabitants

  • In 1651 members of the Massachusetts legislature declared their “our utter detestation and dislike, that men or women of mean condition, should take upon them the garb of Gentlemen, by wearing Gold or Silver Lace, or Buttons, or Points at their knees, or to walk in great Boots . . . which tho allowable to persons of greater Estates, or more liberal education, is intolerable of people in low condition”

  • 1655 Harvard College Laws mirrored this orthodox vision of conservative dress, dictating that students were not permitted to leave their chambers without “Coate, Gowne, or Cloake” and that “every one, everywhere shall weare modest and somber habit, without strange ruffianlike or Newfangled fashions, without all lavishe dress, or excesse of Apparell whatsoever”

What other items found in the same context
What other items found in the same context?

  • four metal hook-and-eye clasps

  • bone button

  • copper-alloy button with embossed decoration

  • iron knee buckle

  • several lead fabric seals (most likely from bales of woolen fabric)

  • assemblage suggests that the students likely followed prescribed institutional fashions...except for the pierced Richmond farthing.

    • Does not comply with “somber habit.”

    • The pierced coin recovered from the Old College cellar suggests that the wearer was anxious about bodily protection, even witchcraft, while being educated at a Puritan institution, where he was being rigorously schooled in knowledge about hellfire, brimstone, God’s wrath, and the dangers of witchcraft.

Was it a touch piece
Was it a touch piece?

  • pierced coin or medal worn close to the body (often concealed under clothing) to cure or ward off disease or evil (these two intertwined in 17th century)

  • long-standing practice in Europe (as early as 14th century)

Religion and the puritan body
Religion and the Puritan body

The Humours, from Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch, 1508

Puritanism the devil is a real tangible threat
Puritanism: the Devil is a real tangible threat

  • Humans inherently sinful and corrupt, rescued from damnation only by arbitrary divine grace, was duty-bound to do God's will, which he could understand best by studying the Bible and the universe which God had created and which he controlled.

  • predestination: Puritans believed that belief in Jesus and participation in the sacraments could not alone effect one's salvation; one cannot choose salvation, for that is the privilege of God alone.

  • Even children touched by original sin.

  • Benjamin Wadsworth: “their Hearts naturally, are a meer nest, root, fountain of Sin, and wickedness." Accordingly, young children were continually reminded that their probable destination was Hell.

Protecting the body and soul a common practice
Protecting the body and soul: a common practice

  • touch pieces just one commonly used strategies to protect physical and mental bodies .

  • Concealed shoes and other items - placed in walls, chimneys, underneath hearths, and doorways

  • concealed as a protective device to ward off evil or may have been used as counter-magic to deflect a curse or other negative circumstance, such as illness or economic blight considered to be the consequence of malevolent spirits or witches

Witch bottles
Witch bottles

  • magical properties assigned to everyday items.

  • For example, Bellarmine bottles filled with urine, hair, and pins to make them into “witch bottles” as a strategy to keep evil spirits away.

  • also concealed

Pierced coins in other colonial contexts
Pierced coins in other colonial contexts

  • variety of objects used as adornment, amulets or charms

  • amulets recovered from Spanish colonial sites intended to protect the wearer from illness or to help the individual withstand or bring about certain bodily processes: teething, nosebleeds, hemorrhage, or conception.

  • Native and African peoples in North America also pierced or drilled holes in coins and thimbles for the purpose of adornment.

  • African Americans’ use of pierced coins in adornment practices during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is often related to the folk use of charms to ward off evil spirits or illness


Glass pharmaceutical bottle fragment Black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger )

Was there need for protection at harvard
Was there need for protection at Harvard?

  • rhetoric of disease, devil, and sin reflected in sermons and curriculum

  • Accounts suggest that students tried black magic, and a student impersonated the devil. President Dunster lit a trail of gunpowder at him.

  • a choice made by someone

  • raises questions about how individuals at seventeenth-century Harvard chose to protect their bodies through adornment that went against the grain of institutional ideals.