Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Welcome to the fall 2012 iteration of Studies in American Material Culture.  This course blog will provide a nexus for information, conversation, and other miscellany of interest to our shared enterprise.  Students in previous terms have also shared their work here, so feel free to browse through the archive for examples of how your predecessors have thought about objects.  If you are one of those past participants, I hope you'll  stay subscribed and join the conversation where and when you see fit. 

This course will introduce you to the major themes, issues, and methods relevant to the study of material culture.  Although archeologists have long concerned themselves with the study of prehistoric objects, only within recent decades have scholars focused their attention on the evidentiary value of historic objects.  We will consider the variety of ways in which scholars from diverse fields have sought to infer meaning from things and then seek specifically to understand how historians have applied those ideas to their own work.

Additionally, we will work with Clare Sauro, Curator of the Drexel University Historic Costume Collection at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, to develop an exhibit of historic costume and textiles that will be mounted during spring 2013.