History of Intangible Things Book Club

This is not a real book club, but an aspirational one. In other words, it’s a book list.

“Intangible things” is not an academic or otherwise recognized category of historical study (as far as I know). Nonetheless, I find that many of the history books I read are about topics that are basically intangible: history of birth, history and historiography of rumor, history of reading. All are important aspects of history difficult to account for in standard narratives, particularly those about Big Men and Big Events. The books below act as public records of under-represented people and experiences, give depth to badly-understood phenomena, and offered perspectives that were new to me.

Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa

Speaking with Vampires book cover Luise White
University of California Press

Birth, Sex and Abuse: Wom­en’s Voic­es Under Nazi Rule

Birth Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi RuleBev­er­ley Chalmers
Grosvenor House Publishers

The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures

The Hidden History of South Africa's Book and Reading CulturesArchie L. Dick
University of Toronto Press


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