Artifacts, Texts, Meaning
How is it that anthropologists can look at an object in a museum collection and state with confidence what it once was a part of, how it was used, where it came from, how old it is, and even, perhaps, what it meant to the people who made it? What is an anthropological approach to documentation, an important accompaniment to the objects held in museums? In this course, participants learn about the ways anthropologists have approached researching material items and texts (both written and oral), ranging from time-tested techniques to materials science approaches. Students in the class do original research involving museum objects. The class involves hands-on work with artifacts, lecture, discussion, and laboratory analysis. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.