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Cornell University    
  Jan 22, 2018
Courses of Study 2017-2018
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ANTHR 6401 - [Material Theory I: Landscape & Place]

(crosslisted) ARKEO 6401  
Fall. Next offered 2020-2021. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

Prerequisite: an introductory course in social thought.

A. T. Smith.

Over the last two decades, space has come to be seen as an active element in social, political, and cultural processes, shaping actions and constraining possibilities. As space has been transformed from a passive setting for action to a critical force in social process, landscape and place have emerged as unifying concepts for the interpretation of distinctly “social” spaces. This course will consider the primary contemporary approaches to landscape and place, considering theoretical writings and spatial case studies drawn from archaeology, ethnography, art history, architecture, and geography. We will also consider contemporary methods of spatial analysis, particularly GIS frameworks) and assess their impact on human communities. The goal of the course is to provide students with a strong foundation in current spatial theory, familiarize them with the tools of spatial decision-making that are reshaping the world, and help them to develop the analytical tools required for making sense of landscapes and places. As the first offering in a sequence focused on material theory, this course is part of a wider effort to train students to be astute analysts of the material world.

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