University of Sussex
Robinson, Michele Nicole. Volume 1.pdf (1.49 MB)

The material culture of children and childhood in Bologna, 1550-1600

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posted on 2023-06-06, 08:22 authored by Michele Nicole Robinson
This thesis examines children and childhood in early modern Bologna through the lens of material culture. In particular, it considers how domestic spaces, objects and images informed the formation and expression of identities in relation to gender, social class and religion between 1550 and 1600. Although the early modern home has recently been the focus of important and ground breaking studies, little attention has been paid to how children experienced domestic life via their relationships with material culture. One of the principle aims of this thesis is to begin to bridge this gap in our knowledge through the examination of the textiles, furnishings, images and other objects that could be found in the homes of artisans, merchants, notaries and Bologna's urban nobility. In order to recreate a robust picture of early modern homes, an interdisciplinary approach has been taken here, which considers evidence that includes physical objects, early modern conduct books, household treatises, paintings, prints and drawings. Additionally, one of the key sources for this thesis is a collection of previously unstudied and unpublished inventories of Bolognese homes and bridal trousseaux. The analysis of these documents offers a new perspective on the Bolognese domestic interior, and, considered alongside other types of evidence, suggests how children interacted with the spaces and material culture of the home. And, as this thesis argues, children's experiences and interactions with domestic material culture were critical not only in the development of identities, but also in the reproduction of social structures, religious beliefs and ideologies around gender and class.


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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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