Courses of Study 2018-2019 
    
    Feb 03, 2023  
Courses of Study 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 4235 - Meaningful Stuff: Interpreting Material Culture

(crosslisted) ARKEO 4235  
(GHB) (HA-AS)      
Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Prerequisite: at least one course in Anthropology or Archaeology. Enrollment limited to: junior standing or higher. Co-meets with ANTHR 7235 /ARKEO 7235 .

F. Gleach.

“Res ipsa loquitur” – the thing speaks for itself. This common expression captures a widespread belief about objects’ roles in human lives, but “hearing” what objects have to say is actually a complex cultural process. An object rarely has a single meaning; they are read variously in different cultural settings, and even by different individuals within a cultural system. How does one know – can one know – the meanings of an object? How are objects strategically deployed in social interaction (particularly in cross-cultural interactions, where each side may have radically different understandings)? How does one even know what an object is? We will explore the history and variety of ways that material culture and its meanings have been studied, using archaeological and ethnographic examples.



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