Spring 2017

Below please find a list of upcoming material culture related courses within the University.


ANTH 344: The Anthropology of Clothes
Dr. Jill Neitzel

This course employs a cross-cultural perspective to consider the personal and cultural significance of clothing. Three related questions are addressed using anthropological and historical case studies : 1) what can we learn about various aspects of a person’s identity from her or his clothes, and 2) how is clothing inter-related with other aspects of culture, such as economics, politics, gender, and religion; and 3) how can clothing link people from different groups, especially through the process of globalization?


ENGL 365: Studies in Literary Genres, Types, & Movements: “Digital Archive Production”
Dr. Jesse Erickson

The words and images you create become digital history that others can examine.  Your opinions might one day be the influence for a song, or a novel, or a film.  Future scholars might study you as context for the social, political, and economic times you’ve had a part in shaping.  In this course, we will collaborate on a web site to digitally archive the messages of people from the late 19th and early 20th century who created their versions of what we would consider tweets or Instagram posts.  We call their messages, ephemera: “items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.” The ephemera we explore is from a special collection of postcards from the era of American minstrelsy.  Meaningful preservation of this work involves critical study and discussion of topics including popular culture, stereotypes, graphic design and digital humanities.

Special note on material culture: Through an engagement with contemporary practices in database generation and the production of resources for digital scholarship, this course will explore the intersection between bibliographic materiality and the social construction of racial identity. The course pedagogy effectively employs ethnobibliographic method within the larger scope of studies in print culture.


EAMC 606: Citites on a Hill: Material Culture in America’s Communal Utopias

This course will examine how visionary Americans formed intentional communities that established new conceptions of religious orthodoxy, sexual relations, economics, craftsmanship. sustainable living, social structures, and cultural standards. Students will study these groups through historical scholarship, close examination of museum collections and objects, interactions with current and former community members, and field trips to historical and current intentional communities.
FRI 9:00-12:00 at Winterthur Museum and Library


EAMC 609: Pre-Industrial Craftsmanship

Examines the world of preindustrial artisans in Colonial British America and Early Republic. Topics include elements of art, business, labor, social and technological history, and material culture. Examines original artifacts in the collections of Winterthur Museum and includes a 3-day field trip to Colonial Williamsburg to work in and study historic trades. Field-based learning complements an intensive examination of rare books and period manuscripts.
WED 9:00 -12:00 at Winterthur Museum and Library


UAPP/MSST 629010: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice

Analysis of the theory underlying historic preservation in the United States and globally, including its history and evolution over time. Examines the impact of preservation laws and public policies, and the strategies and regulations for identifying significant structures, sites, and cultural heritage worthy of preservation. This course will take place on Tuesdays from 2:00-5:00PM. 


UAPP/HIST/MSST 654010: Vernacular Architecture

Study of traditional American folk architecture from the 17th century to the present. Examination of changes in construction, house types and decoration in vernacular buildings, as well as issues of regional differences and individual craftsmanship. This course will take place on Wednesdays from 3:35-6:35PM


UAPP667015: Grant Proposal Writing Tutorial

The components of a successful grant proposal will be discussed. Each student will draft a full grant proposal over the semester, and course meetings will be devoted to  critique, discussion, and revision of various parts of the proposal. This course will take place from 2:00-5:00PM on February 10, March 10, April 7, and May 12, 2017 and will fulfill one hour of credit.


ENGL/ARTH/EAMC/MCST 667: Introduction to Theories of Material Culture Studies

This seminar introduces graduate students to the theories and practices of “material culture studies.” As the investigation of anything that is made or modified by humans, material culture works on the assumption that every object can reveal complex stories about past and present societies. Thus, we study household goods, machinery, built forms, art, landscapes and living bodies, as well as processes of production and consumption. At the same time, we examine things as material expressions of values, social relationships, political ideologies, economic conditions and cultural change over time. This seminar explores the principles and theories that inform our investigation; they include (but are not limited to) material concepts; social life of things; modes of object analysis; methodologies and their application; objects as word and image; gendered objects; technology and manufactured things; lived and built environments. This class will take place on Tuesdays from 3:30-6:15PM.


ANTH 105: Archaeology of the Modern World

Introduces principal ideas, approaches, and research methods in historical archaeology. Presented through a comparative case study of the emergence of the modern world.


ANTH 201: Visualizing Humanity: Ethnographic Film

Examines visual cultural representations, meanings and interpretations in the medium of ethnographic film. Introduces ethnographic filmmaking history and critical theory. Primarily encompasses regional subjects and cultural practices including those developed in Austronesia, Africa, North and South America, and South Asia.


ANTH 251: Introduction to Ethnic Arts

General survey of the ethnoarts from Africa, the Americas and the Pacific, including sculpture, painting, decoration and their interrelationships with oral literature, music, dance, games and ritual.


ANTH 329: Archaeology of Agriculture

Survey of the worldwide transitions from hunting and gathering adaptations to agricultural lifeways. Examines archaeological evidence of these transitions and theories of their causes and consequences using broad anthropological and interdisciplinary perspectives.


ANTH 342: American Culture: Archaeological Perspectives

Archaeological perspectives on issues of concern in contemporary American culture, including the environment, multiculturalism, war, gender, technology and production, and class.


ANTH 381: Visions of Native Americans

Critically examines the visual images of Native Americans that have been created in films, photography, commercial art and media and analyzes how those images function in Euroamerican culture.


MSST 605: Historic Properties: Furnishing Historic Newcastle

Historic properties will be team taught by Catharine Dann Roeber (Winterthur Museum) and Jenn Van Horn (Art History and History) in collaboration with staff from Historic New Castle. This course satisfies core credits for the MSST certificate, yet is relevant and meaningful for any students seeking to have a hands-on, immersive opportunity to reinterpret a historic property with fresh eyes and for new audiences. This project-based course will allow you to work closely with museum and non-profit professionals, build your portfolio, and develop skills for interpreting American material life for the next generation of visitors.

To register contact Tracy Jentsch, Program Coordinator for Museum Studies, at jentzsch@udel.edu.