(Object Lessons)

For as long as people have traveled to distant lands, they have brought home objects to certify the journey. More than mere merchandise, these travel souvenirs take on a personal and cultural meaning that goes beyond the object itself. Drawing on several millennia of examples — from the relic-driven quests of early Christians, to the mass-produced tchotchkes that line the shelves of a Disney gift shop — Rolf delves into a complicated history that explores issues of authenticity, cultural obligation, empire, market forces, and self-presentation. More than just objects, souvenirs are a personalized form of folk storytelling that enable us to make sense of the world and our place in it.

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