Object Lessons is a series of concise, collectable, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Join us as we welcome the authors of two books from the series, Maria Teresa Hart (author of DOLL) and Amanda Parrish Morgan (author of STROLLER) to discuss their work. This visit is co-hosted by Split Rock Books, and books will be available for purchase. Registration is requested.
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DOLL is a nonfiction pop-culture feminist critique of doll history and doll culture. It gives a deep-dive on Barbie’s risqué past, explains Kewpie’s radical origin story, gets spooky with Victorian grave dolls, and time-hops all over the American Girl doll universe. It’s an exploration of how the objects society encourages children to play with as girls shape the women they become. For anyone trying to decipher the deeper meaning behind 2022’s Barbiecore trend, this book has answers.
Among the many things expectant parents are told to buy, none is a more visible symbol of status and parenting philosophy than a stroller. Although its association with wealth dates back to the invention of the first pram in the 1700s, in recent decades, four-figure strollers have become not just status symbols but cultural identifiers. There are sleek jogging strollers for serious athletes, impossibly compact strollers for parents determined to travel internationally with pre-ambulatory children, and those featuring a ride-on kick board or second, less “babyish” seat, designed with older siblings in mind. Despite the many models available, we are all familiar with the image of a harried mother struggling to use a stroller of any kind in a public space that does not accommodate it. There are anti-stroller evangelists, fervently preaching the gospel of baby wearing and attachment parenting. All of these attitudes, seemingly about an object, are also revealing of how we believe parents and children ought to move through the world.
Maria Teresa Hart is a writer, editor, and dulce-de-leche addict. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic,Vox, The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, and other outlets. As an editor, Maria has worked for various publishers, including Penguin Random House, BenBella Books, and Bloomsbury. She lives in Beacon, NY with her partner David and spends her free time googling facts about dormice.
Amanda Parrish Morgan is the author of STROLLER (Bloomsbury 2022) which The New Yorker named one of the best books of 2022, noting that “the central strength of the book is not comprehensiveness but the way the stroller, and Morgan’s experience of her own strollering years, become an omnidirectional magnet, pulling disparate material into friendly proximity.”
Some of Amanda’s writing has appeared in The Rumpus, LitHub, Guernica, The Millions, n+1, Electric Literature, Carve, The American Scholar, The Ploughshares Blog, JSTOR Daily, The Washington Post, Real Simple, Women’s Running and ESPNW.
Amanda lives Connecticut with her husband and two kids where she teaches at Fairfield University and the Westport Writers’ Workshop