ARTH 230 Fall 2012 Materiality and Meaning (W)

Cross Listed as ANTH330
In this course we will study the things people make and use, from works of art to clothing, buildings, and tools. We will use anthropological theory to explore the social and communicative roles that objects play in human society and to explain how people use objects to communicate, rebel, exert power, or make sense of the world around them. We will begin by reconsidering the category "art" and by exploring the idea that visual practices are culturally constructed. Through reading ethnographic case studies, we will investigate how meaning and value are produced in different cultural contexts. In particular, we will focus on semiotic theories of value and on theories of exchange, building on Marcel Mauss's seminal work The Gift. In the second half of the course, we will attend to the role of material culture in capitalist societies by exploring the processes whereby things become commodities; by investigating the relationship between style, aesthetics, and class; and by tracing the interrelationships between design, advertising, and consumer society. Readings will include the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Dick Hebdige, Bronislaw Malinowski, Karl Marx, Annette Weiner, and others.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: participation and class presentations, three short papers, and a final project
Additional Info:
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none; open to all students
Enrollment Preference: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARTH; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ANTH
Divisional Attributes: Division I,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 1813
ARTH230-01(F) SEM Materiality and Meaning (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Llerena G. Searle
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Hopkins Roger Room 1813
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