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Original Essays | July 22, 2014

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The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
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Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity

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Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Aluminum shaped the twentieth century. It enabled high-speed travel and gravity-defying flight. It was the material of a streamlined aesthetic that came to represent modernity. And it became an essential ingredient in industrial and domestic products that ranged from airplanes and cars to designer chairs and artificial Christmas trees. It entered modern homes as packaging, foil, pots and pans and even infiltrated our bodies through food, medicine, and cosmetics. In Aluminum Dreams, Mimi Sheller describes how the materiality and meaning of aluminum transformed modern life and continues to shape the world today.

Aluminum, Sheller tells us, changed mobility and mobilized modern life. It enabled air power, the space age and moon landings. Yet, as Sheller makes clear, aluminum was important not only in twentieth-century technology, innovation, architecture, and design but also in underpinning global military power, uneven development, and crucial environmental and health concerns. Sheller describes aluminum's shiny utopia but also its dark side. The unintended consequences of aluminum's widespread use include struggles for sovereignty and resource control in Africa, India, and the Caribbean; the unleashing of multinational corporations; and the pollution of the earth through mining and smelting (and the battle to save it). Using a single material as an entry point to understanding a global history of modernization and its implications for the future, Aluminum Dreams forces us to ask: How do we assemble the material culture of modernity and what are its environmental consequences?

Aluminum Dreams includes a generous selection of striking images of iconic aluminum designs, many in color, drawn from advertisements by Alcoa, Bohn, Kaiser, and other major corporations, pamphlets, films, and exhibitions.

About the Author

Mimi Sheller is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University. She is the author of Democracy after Slavery, Consuming the Caribbean, and Citizenship from Below.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780262026826
Subtitle:
The Making of Light Modernity
Author:
Sheller, Mimi
Author:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Publisher:
The MIT Press
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Business Writing
Subject:
Superconductors & Superconductivity
Series:
Aluminum Dreams
Publication Date:
20140214
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 17
Language:
English
Illustrations:
41 figures
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Business » General
Business » Management
Business » Writing
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Electricity » General Electronics
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity New Hardcover
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