Homemade Prototypes: Deconstructing Domestic Decorum

Author: Zahraa Essa

  • Homemade Prototypes: Deconstructing Domestic Decorum


    Homemade Prototypes: Deconstructing Domestic Decorum



bell hooks (1990) writes in Homeplace (a site of resistance) that during the times of white supremacy and racial segregation in America, one’s “homeplace” was seen as a place where one could freely challenge the issues of politics and humanisation. Home, as argued by bell hooks (1990) may be associated with forms of protest and power. While Leslie Kanes Weisman (2000) describes home as a highly gendered realm where a woman is always in service of a husband or child. The creation of miniature domestic scenarios dates to models found in ancient Egyptian tombs illustrating what daily life in Egypt was like. However, versions of seventeenth-century dollhouses in Northern Europe are reflected as small-scale replicas of the homes they were situated in, as a display and direct representation and “mini monuments” of wealth and social status. Thereafter, dollhouses become co-opted tools to teach young girls how to run a household and adopt traditionally gendered roles. The project uses the dollhouse through which to prototype and navigate six rooms in the heteropatriarchal South African Indian Muslim home. It deconstructs the constituents in the rooms to reveal the ‘hauntings’ (Gordon 2008) of the colonial legacy which are instituted and becomes a way of seeing wider influences of trade, empire, economic and societal changes.

How to Cite:

Essa, Z., (2022) “Homemade Prototypes: Deconstructing Domestic Decorum”, field 8(1), 87–94.

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Published on
01 Mar 2022
Peer Reviewed