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Mask (Object Lessons)

Mask (Object Lessons)

Current price: $14.95
Publication Date: May 30th, 2024
Bloomsbury Academic
Available for Preorder


Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

From the theater mask and masquerade to the masked criminal and the rise of facial recognition software, masks have long performed as an instrument for the protection and concealment of identity.

Even as they conceal and protect, masks - as faces - are an extension of the self. At the same time, they are a part of material culture: what are masks made of? What traces do they leave behind? Acknowledging that that mask-wearing has become increasingly weaponized and politicized, Sharrona Pearl looks at the politics of the mask, exploring how identity itself is read on this object.

By exploring who we do (and do not) seek to protect through different forms of masking, Sharrona Pearl's long history of masks helps us to better understand what it is we value.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

About the Author

Sharrona Pearl is Associate Professor of Bioethics and History in the Health Care Administration Department at Drexel University, USA. She is the author of Do I Know You? From Face Blindness to Super Recognition (2023), Face/On: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other (2017), and About Faces: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2010). Her writing has appeared in Public Books, Lilith Magazine, The Revealer, and The Washington Post, among others.