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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423

ARCH 0293 Postcolonial Matters: Material Culture between Colonialism and Globalization

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W 9:30-11:50. Instructor: Peter van Dommmelen.

Interested students must register for ANTH 0066T. 

Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS.

This course is about things - 'stuff' - as it is about people past and present and their entanglements in and through colonial situations. It explores colonialism past and present through the combined lenses of postcolonial theory and material culture - the emphasis is thus not so much on literary and figurative representations of colonial conflicts and engagements but rather on the material surroundings of people living those colonial worlds. In other words, this course is about what people did and about the things they used to construct their daily lives in colonial situations across the globe and through time. 

In accordance with the material focus, this course is organized around the theme of material culture and objects feature prominently in class in a wide range of shapes, sizes, appearances and provenances of all times and places. To a large extent these objects will be explored and discussed on the basis of scholarly descriptions and visual representations – as below - but we will also make use of the actual material resources offered by local museums on College Hill, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology in the first place.

While colonialism and globalization provide the thematic framework within which to compare and contrast a wide range of colonial and post-colonial contexts across the globe, postcolonial theory provides the main lens through which to explore how material culture was and is constituted and reproduced in these colonial and globalized situations. Much attention will accordingly be given to the intellectual histories of colonial and materialist studies in both archaeology and anthropology. In practical terms, colonial situations in the Mediterranean and the New World will feature prominently but contemporary Africa and Pacific will be given ample attention as well.

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