ANTHR 7235

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2016-2017.

"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.

When Offered Spring.

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  • 17033ANTHR 7235  SEM 101

  • Prerequisite: junior standing or higher, and at least one course in Anthropology or Archaeology.