Bruce W Hevly
Emphasizes the interrelatedness of theoretical issues and historical research. Students read works that encourage the rethinking of sources and their historical meaning and experiment with sources, methods, and questions in a set of practical assignments.
History 595: Material Culture
This course aims to introduce some of the basic questions associated with material culture, with particular reference to interpretive strategies undertaken by historians of technology and museum professionals. In particular: why do authentic objects matter, to whom and where? What templates are available and applicable to artifacts from symbolic productions such as art work and texts? How do artifacts figure in the tensions between history and heritage? Students in museology should gain a sense of how resources in the history of technology might be useful for the presentation and interpretation of artifacts; historians should learn some of the interpretive problems associated with artifacts as objects of study. We will draw particularly on exhibit reviews to discuss the assumptions and expectations brought to bear by museologists, museum staff members, historians of science and technology, and anthropologists.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Graduate course -- reading and discussion.
Class assignments and grading