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Unit information: Material Culture in 2015/16

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Unit name Material Culture
Unit code ANTHM0008
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Saunders
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This course aims to give students a broad understanding of some of the most important issues in the development of material culture studies. The Unit provides an introduction to the study of material culture by historical archaeologists and anthropologists, and to the range of material culture in the modern and contemporary worlds. The global contexts of artefact manufacture, trade and consumption will be emphasised throughout.

Aims:

The aim of this unit is to introduce material culture studies in archaeology and anthropology. The unit will provide the student with a general knowledge of objects in the modern world (AD 1500-present), and of the diversity of analytical techniques, as well as a through grounding in anthropological 'theories of the object'. The student will develop their abilities to interpret and curate artefacts. Specific subjects which this Unit aims to cover include:

  • Material Culture and the Modern World
  • The Anthropology of Objects and collecting
  • Global contexts and commodity chains
  • Field Trip to a relevant site and special collections
  • Documents as Artefact
  • Curating and presenting collections
  • Theories of Materiality.

Intended learning outcomes

The unit will provide the student with a general knowledge of the range of material culture in the modern world (AD 1500-present), and of contemporary approaches to material in archaeology and social anthropology. The student will develop their abilities to interpret, quantify, and curate artefacts, and will understand the relationship between material culture studies and wider social theory.

Teaching details

Ten 2- 4 hour lectures (including fieldtrips).

Assessment Details

4,000 word essay.

Reading and References

  • Buchli, V. (ed.) 2002. Material Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg
  • Deetz, J. 1977. In Small Things Forgotten. Garden City
  • Gell, A. 2002. Art and Agency. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Meskell, L. 2004. Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Berg.
  • Miller, D. 1987. Material Culture and Mass Consumption

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