In her study of the short-handled hoe, Sarah Jain argues that social relations are built into and performed through material objects. A tool, like the short-handled hoe, could be used in many ways and could mean many things. But in a specific time and place the hoe caused injuries and brought about new kinds of political and social subjects. The short-handled hoe itself was a stable object but its meaning and uses were changeable. In this context, we can see “how bodies and objects are co-constituted and made to ‘count’ in different ways.”

Please choose a tool (an object that people use for work) and explain how specific bodies and this particular object co-constitute social relations–that is, how bodies and objects, in this case, create each other. Be as specific as possible. Tell us the history of the tool. Tell us what you can about the ways bodies are shaped by the use of the tool and understood in political or social ways. Make sure you tell us what time period and location you are writing about (try to link to U.S. history or culture, please).

Things to keep in mind:

You’ll need to do a little research for this assignment. You are welcome to use the internet but please use extra care to cite your sources–here is a link to a site that gives you guidelines:

If you use the internet, be aware that some sites (like Wikipedia) are authored by groups of people and may not have always be completely accurate. It is your responsibility to do your best to draw on accurate, academic material. This may mean taking such drastic action as physically entering the library!

Please type your assignment in 12pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, with one inch margins. Please also be sure to proofread and edit your writing and include your name and section.

You can use a “references cited” section at the end of your paper to list any sources that you consulted. Please be consistent and use one of the primary bibliographic styles used in the humanities and social sciences (Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, etc.). Referring to lecture, just put: (Kaplan lecture, DATE). If you don’t have the date, that’s ok.

A reminder: plagiarism can include paraphrasing factual information or ideas. You must include citational references for ANY ideas or information that are not your own. No exceptions. Here is the section on plagiarism from the course syllabus:

Plagiarism notice: Plagiarism is defined as the copying of any written and visual material without attribution—that means, passing other people’s words and images off as your own. Plagiarism can include paraphrasing—that is, the slight amendment of other people’s words and ideas to something closer to your own. If there is any question in your mind, ask your instructor or TA.

Plagiarized material will receive a failing grade. The TAs and instructors work as a team and we have a zero tolerance policy towards plagiarism. We report ALL plagiarism to Student Conduct for adjudication. Violations of academic honesty can affect a student’s graduation, financial aid, and eligibility for honors.