|My trusty assistant|
This course was designed and implemented by yours truly for a cegep that I work for in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, Canada. It draws from an interdisciplinary approach including but not limited to anthropology, sociology, geography, and philosophy to show how material objects (in this case, textiles) can embody world views. Taking as a starting point the warmth, both physical and emotional, and the narrative symbolism represented by the quilt, the class explored the world views of the many different cultures that have or had some form of quilting as an element of their material culture. Students discovered the roots of the medium as well as its functions both social and cultural. The impact of modern technologies on these sociological forms were examined. As quilts were traditionally primarily made by women, this is an ideal forum to unpick some of the interpretations of the quilting bee as a site for feminist freedom and expression. Case studies were conducted to examine two themes - commodification of culture (regarding the Gee’s Bend quilters, and quilts made by the Amish community) and quilting for activism (the AIDS quilt and the Monument quilt). Students were also given the chance to gain a practical experience of the social and cultural power of quilting by interacting with the Quilt of Belonging project which is based in Canada.