Antiquarianism: History, Theory, Future


Spring 2013


4th Floor Classroom


Peter N. Miller

The scholarly encounter with the material world was first mediated by antiquities. The study of material antiquity in the Renaissance established a series of categories and expectations for the exploitation of material evidence. The course begins c. 1450 with an exploration of antiquarianism in Italy and continues through the heyday of antiquarianism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Then we turn to the relationship between the study of antiquities and the beginning of cultural history around 1800. The next part of the course looks beyond the academic disciplines to look at the way in which this sort of study, in which materiality led to broader reflection on civilization, fed into art and literature in the twentieth century. Finally, we will confront the question of the future of antiquarianism. In an age of hyper-linking, fragments and digital curation, would the style of antiquarianism better match the future than the long-form narratives of the classic history-writing of the nineteenth century? Viewed from present, looking backward and forward, we will come to reflect on the nature of historical scholarship in Euro-America over the past 500 years. 3 credits.