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Media and Material Culture 2


Admission requirements

Only students who completed the course ‘Media and Materiality 1’ can follow this course.


This is the follow-up course of ‘Media and Material Culture 1’.
This course focuses on a specific type of media: material objects. We will discuss the problematic relationship between human beings and material objects, in particular how objects construct the self and culture. Objects are so self-evidently present that social scientists have, for a long time, not valued their importance. In anthropology the study of art has flourished as a sub-discipline in the 1960s and the 1970s, but only recently the importance of objects in religious, political and daily life became a central interest in mainstream anthropology. Recent research concentrates on much more than only the symbolic value of objects.
During the course we will switch easily from anthropology to archaeology and art history and vice versa. Examples will be given from these three disciplines to show that objects and art overpass disciplinary boundaries. We will treat material objects as art, as objects of daily life, as museum pieces and as material entities that influence us merely by their presence. We will discuss colonial collections from Indonesia, archaeological remains from Carthage and the work of the French painter Édouard Manet. Important concepts, such as classification, selection, representation and museums will be central to our discussions and assignments.

Course objectives

Students are expected to develop a critical attitude towards the role of objects in our lives. They will be trained to critically evaluate the role of institutions (museums, heritage institutions, Ministries, etc.) that aim at guiding, or even controlling, our views on and around objects.


Please see the schedule

Mode of instruction

Total 5 ECTS = 140 study hours (sbu):

  • Lectures (Tuesdays) 4 × 3 h = 12 hours (18 sbu)

  • Group discussions (Thursdays) 6 hours (12 sbu)

  • Study of literature (90 sbu)

  • Assignments

Assesment method

  • three assignments


Blackboard will be used to post the assignments and other course related information.

Registration in uSis

All participants must register in uSis for the lectures/group discussions of this course. (Registration for the exam is not required since there is no classical examination.)

Reading list

A reading list will be added later.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Pieter ter Keurs