This website was designed to help other scholars integrate material culture into the Jewish Studies courses, particularly classes on Jewish American History and Culture. Although my scholarly focus is on early America, I also regularly use material culture in my American Studies classes and in our team-taught Western Humanities program on the Ancient Mediterranean. Rarely do I teach classes purely on material culture. Rather, I generally I use objects in conjunction with literature, historical, or religious texts. Thus, this website uses an integrated approach. On the sample syllabus and resources pages, however, you will find links to courses that focus solely on material culture.
Throughout the website, I provide some general strategies for how I use material culture in the classroom in general as well as specific examples of how to use the material culture found in the Jewish Atlantic World Database.
To read more about my scholarship on material culture, see my book Messianism, Secrecy and Mystisicism: A New Approach to Early American Jewish Life. Teachers may also find this book provides a useful background for understanding the objects found in the database.
This website was designed to accompany my Digital Workshop presentation on “History Through Things” at the AJS Conference in Chicago, 2012.