Syllabus watch – teaching material culture

I thought it might be a good idea to open a thread discussing and linking to teaching materials for courses in “material culture”, “thing theory”, “materiality” and so forth…
I’ve been looking around a bit.
Here are some of the courses I’ve come across so far that best exemplify the dynamism of this growing field (I’ve got a bias towards anthropology…literature people please weigh in in the comments, and design people, and history people…)
Severin Fowles “Thing Theory” in the Anthropology Dept at Columbia University is a great course with student assignments posted online to the class blog. It’s also interesting to see how this course has changed over the years.
Robert Frosts course in “Material Culture and the Interpretation of Objects” at U Michigan is mainly focused on museological texts.
Bill Brown’s literature based “thing theory” at Chicago
Mike Shanks, Thing Theory, from an archaeological perspective at Stanford.
Dr Fillippo Osella’s course, The Allure of Things at Sussex University provides a great overview of the British slant on material culture. the course no longer seems to be online, but I saved the version from 2007 as a webarchive (safari is the browser) which hopefully you can download here: Download file
Then Fred Myers and I taught a graduate seminar in the NYU Anthropology department on Materiality, which was frustrating because there was so much we couldn’t include. The idea was to really focus on the intersection of thinking about materiality for the discipline of anthropology rather than a broader based survey of the literature. Download file

Download PDF

5 Responses to Syllabus watch – teaching material culture

  1. Brinton, University of Chicago February 9, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    Professor Adam T. Smith of the University of Chicago taught a great course on Material Cultures in Autumn 2007. The syllabus is available online here

  2. Maya Valladares, Brooklyn Museum February 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Museum 2.0 ( has a bunch of interesting texts and interviews on materiality in a museum context. It seems like it could be a useful addition to Frost’s syllabus.

  3. khairul fahmi July 3, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    hi,,,,,,,,i m student in one of university in Nusa tenggara barat,i just want to know,how to make good syllabus and example of it.

  4. K.F. Latham, Bowling Green State Univ. December 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    I will be teaching a graduate class called “Material Culture and Meaning” this summer (’10). I am interested in any ideas for readings and projects that may spring up.

  5. Joseph Wilson, University of Florida July 21, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    A Material Culture graduate proseminar is required in the Industrial Archaeology & Heritage program at Michigan Technological University (rotating faculty instructors), focusing on historical & industrial-era materials.
    I have also found a link to an Art-History-oriented certificate program at UMW:

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