Material Itineraries: Anthropology of Collecting Expeditions


Fall 2011


Digital Media Lab


Erin Hasinoff

The focus of this course is the content development and design of a BGC Focus Gallery exhibition tentatively entitled Collected en Route: The Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin Expedition of 1935 which will open in 2013. The expedition traversed Northern Burma for three months, amassing biological and ethnological collections for the American Museum of Natural History. The museum’s objects and associated documentation, drawn together from several scientific departments, reveal the expedition party’s encounters with the ethnic peoples, biota, and landscapes of the Upper Chindwin River area. In preparation for the exhibition, students will research a poignant selection of ethnographic objects, specimens, and photography taken en route, and the provisions party members carried as comforts from home, scientific technologies, and exchange items on their journey. Students will gain first-hand experience researching and writing exhibition text, and knowledge of the range of current literature on the anthropology of expeditions. This course is open to new students to join. 3 credits.