Fall 2017 Material Culture Courses

Material Culture Core Courses

ANTHRO/ART HIST/DS/HISTORY/LAND ARC 264: Dimensions of Material Culture 

TuTh 1-2:15 Martin, Ann and Nelson, Mark

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of material culture studies. It is intended for students interested in any professional endeavor related to material culture, including careers in museums, galleries, historical societies, historic preservation organizations, and academic institutions. During the semester, students have varied opportunities to engage with and contemplate the material world to which people give meaning and which, in turn, influences their lives. Sessions combine in some way the following: presentations from faculty members and professionals who lecture on a phase of material culture related to his/her own scholarship or other professional work; discussion of foundational readings in the field; visits to collections and sites on campus and around Madison; discussion of readings assigned by visiting presenters or the professors; and exams and short papers that engage material culture topics.

ART HIST 563: Proseminar in Material Culture – Object Study: Enlightenment-Present

We 2:30-4:30 Carter, Sarah

Interdisciplinary study focusing on the way people use objects and environments to express identities and form relationships in households, communities, and larger social/economic systems. With case studies including Renaissance cabinets of curiosities, historic object lessons, collections of taxidermy, and twentieth-first century museum pedagogy, this semester’s seminar will explore histories of museums and collecting, a range of object-based epistemologies and methodologies, and new pedagogical possibilities for object study.

The following courses are electives applicable to the Material Culture Certificate


ANTHRO 212: Principles of Archaeology

MW 11-11:50 Clayton, Sarah

This course introduces students to the methods, historical development, and scientific principles of archaeology. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and laboratory activities, students discover how archaeologists generate and interpret information about the human past. The course familiarizes students with scientific inquiry and provides a foundation for pursuing advanced archaeological courses and field research.

ANTHRO 391: Bones for the Archaeologist

TuTh 2:30-3:45 Bunn, Henry

An introduction to the principles and techniques in the identification and interpretation of animal bones. Short lectures and weekly laboratory exercises; analysis of an archaeological bone assemblage.

ANTHRO 696: Archaeological Methods of Curation

TBA Benden, Danielle / Schroeder, Sissel

Practicum in the curation of prehistoric stone, bone, and ceramics. Involves handling materials, identification of artifacts, conservation techinques, preparation of materials for storage or display.

Art History

ART HIST 300: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece

MoWeFr 8:50-9:40 Cahill, Nick

Explores the art and archaeology of ancient Greece from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period.

ART HIST 506: Curatorial Studies Exhibition Practice

Mo 4:30-6:30 Drewal, Henry J.

This course will engage students in all aspects of the preparation of an exhibition for the Chazen Museum of Art or other exhibition spaces on campus. Students will help conceptualize the exhibition and its layout, research and interpret individual objects, prepare wall texts for the display and other materials published in print or online in conjunction with the exhibition. The specific topic will be different each time the course is taught.

ART HIST 601: Introduction to Museum Studies

Th 4:30-6:30 Martin, Ann

History of museums and collecting; introduction to connoisseurship; studies and practices in art museum activities; experience in exhibition planning, research, cataloging, and installation.


CLASSICS 300/700: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece

MoWeFr 8:50-9:40 Cahill, Nick

Explores the art and archaeology of ancient Greece from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period.

Design Studies

DS 421: History of European Interiors

MoWe 3:30-3:45 TBA

This course surveys the history of architecture, interiors, furnishings and decorative arts from antiquity to the mid-19th century. Lectures and readings introduce major design cultures and movements, emphasizing the role of social, economic, political, technological, and aesthetic factors in the shaping design. Prereq> DS 120 or ART HIST 201 and 202


FOLKLORE 540: Local Culture and Identity in the Upper Midwest

TBA Olson, Ruth

A web-based course, operating as a series of modules. Each module addresses a different aspect of community life and culture in the upper midwest, focusing on Wisconsin. Examples include ethnic groups, religious life, vernacular architecture, oral narrrative, music and material culture.


GEOG 305: Introductions to Cities

TuTh 2:30-3:45 Moore, Sarah

Investigates urbanization as a general process, as well as the resulting contemporary physical, social, cultural and political- economic forms of cities. As an ethnic studies class, emphasis will be placed on the history and current forms of spatial and social segregation of cities by race, class, ethnicity, and gender. The myriad ways that cities have addressed the tensions emerging from this history of spatial and social segregation will be highlighted. Further, emphasis will be placed on understanding the experiences of those most-affected by historical and continuing segregation.

History of Science

HIST SCI 222: Technology and Social Change in History

MoWe 11:00-11:50 Schatzberg, Eric

Topics in the history of technology of interest to students in engineering and physical sciences. Themes include the social basis of technical change, the impact of technology on everyday life, and ethical issues in technology in the last two centuries.

637: History of Technology

MoWe 4:00-5:00 Schatzberg, Eric

A survey of Western technology within its social and cultural context during the past 1000 years. Topics include technology in European expansion, the industrial revolution, and the rise of the United States as a technological superpower.

Scandinavian Studies

SCAND ST 440: Scandinavian Folklore

TuTh 9:30-10:45 Cederstrom, Bror Marcus Leal

Examines the verbal, musical, customary, and material folklore of Scandinavian Americans, with emphasis on the upper Midwest. Requires field and archival research.

History & Journalism

HISTORY/JOURN 560: History of Mass Communication

MoWeFr 11:00-11:50 TBA

Evolution of the mass media in the United States in the context of political, social, and economic change.

The following courses are not applicable to the Material Culture Certificate but may be of interest to Material Culture Students

Classics 430: Troy and the Trojan War

TuTh 9:30-10:45 Aylward, William

This course covers everything you ever wanted to know about Troy and the Trojan War but were afraid to ask. Our primary source for our investigation is the archaeology of Troy and neighboring sites in Greece and Anatolia from periods including the Bronze Age, and Greek, Roman, and Byzantine times. Students are introduced to monuments at archaeological sites, as well as archaeological discoveries at Troy from the age of Schliemann to current excavations going on now. Materials studied include architecture, sculpture, inscriptions, pottery, and coins, as well has human and animal skeletal remains. We supplement the material record with literature, especially Homer, but also Herodotus, Euripides, Strabo, and Vergil. This course imparts knowledge about Troy’s enduring questions: Who were the Trojans? Was there a Trojan War? Who was Homer? What was the legacy of Troy in Greek and Roman times? Why were Trojans venerated at Rome? This course also imparts methods in archaeology and art history, and includes discussions of ethics in archaeology, trade in antiquities, the role of museums in modern society, and cultural heritage preservation. Students acquire skills in written communication, critical thinking about primary source materials in archaeology and literature, and the enduring vocabulary of classical antiquity.

HIST SCI 350: Things not Words: Using Material Culture

TuTh 1:00-2:15 Jackson, Catherine M.

Science is what happens when ideas meet things.  When what we’d like to be true collides with nature.  This course shows you how that works. Based around UW–Madison’s remarkable history, collections and architecture, this practically oriented course will give you hands-on experience of how material culture changes our understanding of science, its history, its relationship to the arts and humanities, and its place in wider society.  It will also introduce you to current research in this area – right here in Madison. The class will involve regular field trips to collections in local/campus museums, including visits to the UW Zoology Museum, the University Archives, and to see the Chemistry Department’s resident glassblower at work. This interdisciplinary course is suitable for undergraduate students in history of science, history and the sciences, as well as for those in anthropology, art history, and architecture.  The course is also open to graduate students.  Any student with an interest in visual and material culture or museum studies should consider taking this course. Interested students should contact me directly to discuss their particular circumstances.

LAND ARC 375 : Special Topics: Museums & Heritage Landscapes

Friday, 1:30-4:30, Gilmore, Janet

Complex of variable credit classes explores heritage landscape history, interpretation, installations, planning, and conservation at outdoor museums and parks. Special attention to contemporary heritage gardening and farming practices at outdoor museum sites in the Upper Midwest and Scandinavia. Case studies/field trips focus on Frilandsmuseet, Old World Wisconsin, Dane County Parks, Field trips mostly on class days, Saturdays to be determined.

The following are graduate level courses in Material Culture

ANTHRO 942: Theory in Archaeology

We 2:25-4:55 Schroeder,Sissel

This is a graduate seminar in archaeological theory.

ART HIST 863: Seminar in Material Culture – Object Study: Enlightenment-Present

We 2:30-4:30 Carter, Sarah

Interdisciplinary study, at the graduate level, focusing on the way people use objects and environments to express identities and relationships in households, communities, and larger social/economic systems.