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Circuits of VisibilityGender and Transnational Media Cultures$
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Radha S. Hegde

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814737309

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814737309.001.0001

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Objects of Knowledge, Subjects of Consumption

Objects of Knowledge, Subjects of Consumption

Persian Carpets and the Gendered Politics of Transnational Knowledge

(p.159) 9 Objects of Knowledge, Subjects of Consumption
Circuits of Visibility

Minoo Moallem

NYU Press

This chapter tracks the transnational connections between the history of commodities, modes of economic exchange, mediated knowledge, and women's labor in carpet production. Connoisseur books, as a genre of knowledge production, have been crucial sites for the formation and transformation of material culture and for the production of racial and gendered differences, especially in the modern structure of empire. The genre has led to the creation of a decontextualized knowledge in which commodities such as the Persian carpet are disconnected from the circuits of labor and complex hybrid trajectories of cultural meaning. It has been supplemented by a visual and textual intertextual discourse regarding the conditions and pain involved in the labor of carpet weavers. However, this discourse, which is both constitutive and constituted by gendered subjects' positions, mostly serves the moral economy of consumerism by uniting pain and pleasure in the commodity in order to influence consumer affect and desires.

Keywords:   commodities, women's labor, carpet production, connoisseur books, material culture, Persian carpets, carpet weavers, consumerism

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