MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-18

SPRING SEMESTER 15 CREDITS
AAP6153 MATERIALISING CULTURE: AGENTS, THINGS AND SOCIAL PROCESSES
CO-ORDINATOR: PETER DAY
OTHER TUTORS: ROGER DOONAN, CAROLINE JACKSON

MODULE OUTLINE

This module examines the key concepts of innovation, production, exchange and consumption of material culture. This is achieved through considering a series of archaeological case studies, where objects and craft practice are embedded within their cultural context. Building on a firm theoretical background, the case studies vary from ceramics in the Neolithic through to the Post-medieval world. The module highlights these major concepts which form the basis of an understanding of society through the interaction of humans with their material world.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:

  • develop students appreciation of the conceptual and methodological frameworks within which we study the material world of human societies.
  • show how humans negotiate issues of power and identity through material culture, highlighting issues of technological production and performance; distribution and exchange, as well as consumption and display.
  • present to students a range of case studies across time and space, enabling them to assess critically the literature on ethnographic and archaeological studies of ancient technologies and material culture.
  • familiarise students with the role of physico-chemical analysis in such archaeological research design.

MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of :

  • a fundamental understanding of the interaction of humans and material culture.
  • a detailed grasp of the range of case studies presented.
  • an appreciation of the key issues in the study of material culture and their development within the discipline.
  • an appreciation of the role of theoretical knowledge in the design of programmes of material analysis.
  • the appropriate skills to critique research methodologies presented in the literature
  • the ability to research and present coherent ideas in written and oral form about material culture production and consumption.

EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES/TUTORIALS

Our lectures/seminars are highly participative and taught by leaders in their field.

  • Mobility, Identity and commodity movement in the Aegean Bronze Age
  • Materialities: Key Concepts in the Stuff of Life
  • Transforming the Neolithic: the Inception of Metallurgy in Europe
  • Technological transmission: faience and glass in Bronze Age Egypt and the Aegean
  • Deathly Materials: the case of Batan Grande, Peru
  • Consumption and Socio-Political Change in the Roman World
  • Mann and Metallurgy: Parallel Biographies in the Manx Iron Age
  • Clash of the Empires: Ceramic Worlds in the 14th-20th Century East Mediterranean

STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Lectures 16
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 134

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Essay 100% 3000 words