Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lara Deeb

Reader 2

Seo Young Park

Reader 3

Leda Martins

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Bria Biesman-Simons


We carry objects from place to place in bags, all the while maintaining that they are trivial objects. If we categorize objects as mundane, then why do we carry them everywhere we go? I interviewed female students at the Claremont Colleges about what they carry in their bags. College women articulate many distinct reasons for carrying a bag and for carrying the items within that bag. My participants perceive the items they carry as mundane, and do not question the presence of those items in their lives. Yet they also claim to need the items they categorize as trivial. They perceive the need to carry items as natural, and so do not question that need. My project demonstrates the ways college women make objects seem trivial and make needs seem natural. Through ethnographic interviews, I highlight how things perceived as mundane have significance. Additionally, I show that carrying a bag and carrying objects enables college women to be prepared to care for the well-being of themselves and the people around them. Between perceptions of objects as inessential and perceptions of the functions of objects as superficial, college women find value in carrying items.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.