History and Material Culture: New Directions

The seminar will study The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture (2020) to ascertain its place in the development of material culture history. The Handbook is arranged thematically in five sections, each containing six chapters, plus an introduction and a conclusion. Thirty-three authors from ten countries address topics from Paleolithic to Punk. Each week the seminar will examine three chapters within one section. Everyone will read all three chapters, plus a choice of one further journal article or chapter in another book by one of the three authors. Students will then prepare a critique of the chapter in the Handbook they choose or are assigned, using one other text by the author as a point of comparison and elucidation. Subject to their schedules, at least one contributor will join the seminar via Zoom each week. Referring to one another’s papers, and discussion of presentations in class each week, students will revise their week’s written work. Students can go on revising their critiques until the end of exam week by which time each student will have written a review of the entire book. This review will constitute the final paper. 3 credits.