- Weekly response paper (2-3 pages; 15% of final grade).
You can either concentrate on one required reading, find a way to relate several or all of the required readings, or relate at least one required reading with a combination of required and recommended readings. Create a focused, coherent argument in 2-3 pages relating to some aspect of "material culture history and theory" as inspired by the readings. Be prepared to present a brief statement about your thoughts during class, and to answer questions.
Grading will be check, check-plus, or check-minus (with comments) as we go. At the end of the term, each student will collect her marked weekly responses into a folder and prepare a cover statement to submit the accumulated work for a letter grade. Selective revisions are invited but not required; further instructions on the cover statement will be provided.
due date: weekly, in class.
- Exhibition review (4-6 pages; 15% of final grade). Students will select and visit an exhibition in a local museum that presents material cultural artifacts within an interpretive framework. The review will focus on the way material culture evidence is presented, the underlying theories and assumptions about material culture either explicitly or implicitly evident, and the effectiveness with which material culture is presented within the context of the exhibition's stated goals. (15% total grade)
due date: March 9
- Book review (4-6 pages; 15% of final grade). Students will select a material-culture-based monograph from a list provided by the instructor, or request approval for an alternate similar title. The book review will focus on the way material culture evidence is used within the author's larger argument, and how the work both draws on and contributes to the body of scholarship in material culture study. (15% total grade) --> to list
due date: April 13
- Research paper (15-20 pages; 45% of final grade) Topic to be determined in consultation to the instructor, relating to an issue in material culture theory or historiography. Students will also provide a short prospectus, and will share a 20-minute oral presentation with class members at last class.
due date: May 14 by 12:00 noon.
- Participation (10% of final grade). Active, ongoing participation in all aspects of the course is expected.
Book Review Options
Please select from the following, or propose a similar monograph that consciously treats material culture evidence in historical/cultural context. This particular list is chosen to cover a range of approaches; some I'm familiar with and others I'm curious about:
- Bill Brown, A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature. University of Chicago Press, 2003.
- Alison J. Clarke, Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999.
- Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. Knopf, 2003.
Greg Dening, Mr Bligh's Bad Language: Passion, Power, and Theatre on the Bounty. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
- Henry Glassie, Material Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.
- Greg Hise, Magnetic Los Angeles: Planning the Twentieth-Century Metropolis. Johns Hopkins Univ Press, August 1999.
- Karal Ann Marling, George Washington Slept Here: Colonial Revivals and American Culture, 1876-1986. Harvard Univ Press, 1988.
- Douglas Mao, Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production.
Princeton University Press, 1998.
- Daniel Miller and Don Slater, The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach. New York University Press, 2000.
- Kathy Peiss, Hope in a Jar : The Making of America's Beauty Culture.
Owl Books, 1999.
- Laura Rigal, The American Manufactory: Art, Labor, and the World of Things in the Early Republic.
Princeton Univ Press, 2001.
- Andrew Ross, The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town. Ballantine Books, 2000.
- Penny Sparke, As Long As It's Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste.
London: Pandora, 1995.
- Nicholas Thomas, Entangled Objects: Exchange, Material Culture, and Colonialism in the Pacific. Harvard University Press, 1991.