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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

Things! The Material Worlds of Humanity ARCH2100

a course with Christopher Witmore

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This course explores the relationships between people and things. From archaeology to material culture studies to philosophy to science studies we will examine a wide variety of approaches to the world of objects, artifacts, material goods, etc. The range of perspectives will include: materialist approaches, consumption studies (including notions of fetish), phenomenology, social constructivism, cognitive approaches, actor-network-theory and more. Along this transdisciplinary path we will critically question the place and importance of things for humanity (things of humanity): is the world of objects separate, demarcated and distinct from that of subjects? Should artifacts be understood as epiphenomena or do things actually work to hold society together? This line of questioning will lead us to continually ask what is it to be human? Course members are encouraged to develop the strategies encountered throughout the course in the context of their own work.

Tuesdays 4:00–6:20 pm