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Seminar in Material Culture Studies


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA-programme Material Culture and Artefact Studies.


Objects are intimately connected with the social and ideational aspects of society. They are not only reflective of the identity of their makers, but they also, through their role in daily life, structure and reinforce existing social relationships. Focus will be the reconstruction of the cultural biography of the material world. After some introductory lectures, recent literature on a current theme will be read and discussed in class. This year, students will have to present a case study of their choice, showing the materiality of the past.

Course objectives

  • Insight into the various questions that can be asked regarding the meaning of material culture for past societies;

  • Knowledge of the various theoretical concepts that are important in material culture studies and ability to discuss them in a critical manner;

  • Ability to apply these concepts to a case study of the student’s choice and presenting this in class.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Seminar.

Assessment method

  • Presentation (50 %), to be held in block II.

  • Paper (50%), due on January 15, 2012.

Reading list

Recently published articles (to be announced).


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw prof. dr A.L. van Gijn.