23 March 2012

Article: Julia Reinhard Lupton, "Thinking with Things: Hannah Woolley to Hannah Arendt"

Just for this month, postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies is offering the the whole content of their newest issue of Spring 2012 - entitled "Becoming Media", edited by Jen Boyle and Martin Foys" - for free download. Contributions include Eugene Thacker's "Wayless Abyss: Mysticism, Mediation and Divine Nothingness" and a fascinating cross-media experiment by Whitney Anne Trettien, "Plant right arrow Animal right arrow Book: Magnifying a Microhistory of Media Circuits", which is accompanied by an additional digital essay-cum-gloss to be read relationally with the postmedieval text.

Julia Reinhard Lupton's quirky and reflective article "Thinking with Things: Hannah Woolley to Hannah Arendt" is another postmedieval offering in this issue available online throughout March. Lupton spices up seventeenth-century Hannah Woolley's cookbook The Queen-like Closet (first published in 1670) through a peculiar comparative proximity with Hannah Arendt's concept of "judgment", carefully filtered through the register of actor-network theory and object oriented ontology. Through such a perview, Lupton encourages not only a wider reading of Arendt's philosophy but also (and perhaps more primarily) a subtle re-evaluation of the generally quotidian task of cooking and the tactile engagements which form the basis for judgment in the course of preparing food for a table. 
"Bringing the two Hannahs to the same table helps me unfold the preparation of meals as engaging at once a worldly environment and social scripts, setting the scenes in which action, work and labor enter into the most intimate proximity, without, however, losing their distinctions altogether."

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