Archive | From the editors

Judy Attfield

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Judy Attfield, one of the pioneers of contemporary material culture studies who did so much to demonstrate the value of this approach. Judy started her academic career within a discipline called design history that was largely devoted to hagiographic accounts of great designers and the history of great designs, both of which almost entirely ignored the wider context of understanding the form and style of the world of goods most people lived with. Thanks to her textbook Wild Things and a series of exemplary studies she transformed Design History into a study of the intimate relationship between populations and the common form and design of mundane material culture.…

Continue Reading

Thinking Through Things

Daniel Miller, UCL
On Thursday 7th December a book launch was held for a new volume Thinking Through Things. Edited by A Henare, M Holbraad and S Wastell and published by Routledge.
The book is clearly of interest to anyone in material culture studies. The primary theme is concerned with transcending any dualism between things and concepts, for which purpose there is considerable engagement with epistemological and ontological issues. The intention is not to develop a new theory, but rather to affirm an analytical methodology, that anthropologists could utilise to gain insights in their various studies. The inspiration is quite clearly the work of Marilyn Strathern, and the degree to which this clearly represents a cadre of younger scholars working enthusiastically to related themes is testimony to her inspiration at Cambridge.…

Continue Reading

Bruce Trigger (1937-2006)

Victor Buchli, Dept of Anthropology, UCL
It is with great sadness to have to report that Bruce Trigger died at the beginning of this month.
Bruce Graham Trigger (born June 18, 1937 died December 1, 2006) was a Canadian archaeologist. Born in Preston, Ontario, he received a doctorate in archaeology from Yale University in 1964. His research interests include the history of archaeological research and the comparative study of early cultures. He taught at Northwestern University for a year in 1964 and since then has been in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University in Montréal. For his in-depth study of the ethnohistory of the Hurons, he has been adopted as an honorary member of the Huron-Wendat Nation. His book A History of Archaeological Thought is a must for anyone who wishes to understand the development of archaeology as a discipline.…

Continue Reading

Material Culture studies at the American Anthropological Association

Daniel Miller, Anthropology UCL
706.jpg
A Congress of different cultures: the General Assembly of the United Nations (in lieu of a conference photograph from the AAA)

Last week I attended the annual meetings of the AAA held at San Jose. I went along with a group of students, staff and ex-students from University College London to present a panel concerned with studies inside and outside the home. As usual we are fairly up-front in presenting ourselves under the auspices of ‘material culture studies’. But while this term seems to have established itself as fully as one could wish outside of the US, in the anthropology of places as diverse as Australia through to Brazil, US anthropology continues to exhibit some reticence with respect both to the terminology and its associated conceptualisations.…

Continue Reading

Museum + Anthropology = Blog, and Other Online Phenomena

Haidy Geismar, NYU
mapcopy.jpg
Map showing the location of the last 100 viewers of Materialworldblog, source www.statcounter.com
Alongside this site, there are several recent additions to the Museum/Anthropology blogosphere which are definitely worth checking out (any other good links, please add to the comments below!).
museumanthropology.blogspot.com
The bi-annual journal, Museum Anthropology, now has it’s own blog, which will be used increasingly to supplement materials published in the journal. The blog offers a forum in which articles published in the journal can be discussed formally as a form of post-publication peer-review. It will also dynamically post notifications of current exhibitions, symposium, book releases and other relevant material. Scholars interested in the fields of museum studies and material culture studies are urged to submit announcements and other materials of interest to the community.…

Continue Reading

Clifford Geertz (1926-2006)

Daniel Miller, Anthropology UCL
My impression is that students coming into anthropology today, at least in Britain, are not necessarily expecting to read very much of the writings of Clifford Geertz, compared to my time as a student. But his death on Monday should remind us of just how much a loss that is. I have spent my academic life enamoured of fieldwork and ethnography and I suspect the single biggest influence on this was the sheer pleasure of reading Geertz. As far as I know he never would have described himself as particularly associated with material culture per se, (please comment if you know otherwise) but he was the quintessential cultural anthropologist, and his work shows how much that American tradition of cultural anthropology, (to some degree as opposed to European social anthropology) provided in its heyday an almost seamless acceptance of the materiality of peoples lives and the need to give due credit to the form of cultural order and life.…

Continue Reading

Material World – a new webspace

Welcome to Material World, an interactive, online hub for contemporary debates, discussion, thinking and research centred on material and visual culture. It is the brainchild of scholars working in the anthropology departments of University College London and New York University, but aims to create a new international community of academics, students, curators, artists and anyone else with particular interests in material and visual culture.
We will use this digital framework to post exhibition, book and other reviews; discuss key topics; develop online reading groups and symposia; post links to images, objects and collections; highlight cutting edge research and fieldwork, conferences, meetings and other events; develop teaching resources and syllabi; and encourage student participation.

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes