Material Culture

Course Code: SOCI 3004

Academic Year: 2021-2022

Material culture refers to our social interaction with the multitude of everyday items, objects and spaces that populate our shared milieu. Household objects, work environments, sacred items, roads, buildings and even written language itself are objects of material culture through which we make ourselves sensible to others and to ourselves. This course concerns itself with our ongoing ability to make meaning of our world by naming, designating and assigning attributes to things, something we do in everyday life often without reflection. Both as theorists and as users of objects, we can address how we come to see as normal and natural the everyday physical objects and built forms that we as a culture have created through the collective imagination. Human made objects are durable and persist through generations, making their presence known to subsequent generations, who may use them as devices to interpret past lives and past ways of acting and thinking. A sociology of material culture, then, can be thought of as an archaeology of the present, investigating how we understand ourselves and each other through the physical things around us. Category and Level: Society, Culture and Commerce, Upper Level Restrictions: None Note: Students benefit from taking a lower level course in the Society, Culture and Commerce category prior to enrolling in this upper level course.