SOCI/ANTH 441 Material Culture Week 1: Introduction
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SOCI/ANTH 441 Material Culture Week 1: Introduction

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Introductions, things, course outline, project

Introductions, things, course outline, project

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  • 1. Week 1 — Introduction SOCI/ANTH 441 Material Culture Alexandre Enkerli
  • 2. Today
    • Get to know each other
    • Introduce the course
    • Give ideas for project
    • Talk about things
  • 3. Podcast
    • Audio recording
    • Automatic
    • Posted on Moodle after class
    • On-record
    • Can pause
    • Would prefer to leave on-record
  • 4.  
  • 5. Alex
    • Ethnographic disciplines (cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, ethnomusicology, folkloristics)
    • Summer sociology
    • Constructive, collaborative learning
    • Adapting
    • New course
  • 6. Attitude Toward Material Culture
    • Somewhat detached, pragmatic
    • Geek culture
    • Not gadget freak
    • More aural than visual
    • Not full of “purty pickters” (pretty pictures)
    • Navigate abstract and concrete
    • Sensory aspects
  • 7. Introductions
    • Background
      • Academic
      • Personal
    • Material culture
    • Favourite thing?
    • Anything else?
  • 8.
    • Talking About Things
  • 9.  
  • 10. Terms
    • Thing, object, entity, stuff, matter, substance, item, artefact, property
    • Possessions, belongings, commodities, goods, products
    • It, this, that
    • Material, physical, virtual, imagined
    • Natural, manufactured, crafted, processed
  • 11. Some Themes
    • Inequality, Gender, Domesticity, Public/private dichotomy, Class, Technology adoption, Science, Engineering, Postmodernism, Industrialization, Consumption, Globalization, Commodification. Environmentalism, Gift economy, Property rights, Intellectual property, Ethnic identity, Cultural diversity, Cultural heritage, Tradition, Appropriation, Personalization/customization, Fetishism, Value, Purity, Trash, Subjectivity, Embodiment, Agency, Materialism, Aesthetics...
  • 12. Interdisciplinary
    • Psychology, cultural studies, engineering, history, market research, folkloristics, architecture, economics, archaeology, popular culture, art history, gender studies, semiotics, political science, museum studies, consumer research, American studies, etc.
    • Focus on anthropology and sociology
  • 13. Own Approach to Course
    • Ethnography
    • Folkloristics
    • Music
    • Sensory anthropology
    • Semiotics
  • 14.  
  • 15. Course Outline
    • May change
    • From lecture to discussion to presentations
    • Attendance required, even during presentations
    • Seminar participation outside of class
    • Come prepared
    • “ Prewrite”
  • 16. Readings
    • RefWorks
    • All in databases (links to PDF Files)
    • On-Campus
    • May add or replace
      • Web content
    • Supplementary readings
      • Project
      • Further understanding
  • 17. Moodle
    • Readings
    • Assignments
    • “ Handouts”
    • Slides
    • Podcast
    • Forums
      • Forced but can unsubscribe
    • Podcasts
  • 18.
    • Social analysis of an object
  • 19. Three parts
    • Description of a Thing (20%, due October 1)
    • Presentation (30%, November 5—26)
    • Final Paper (40%, Due December 5)
  • 20. Project Guidelines
    • Social science on thing
    • People through objects
    • From thing to society/culture
    • Focus on anthropology/sociology
    • Multiple angles
  • 21. Choosing a Thing
    • Leaving open
    • Some advice
    • If need help, can discuss
    • No ideal thing, no impossible thing
    • Accessible literature
      • Not too specialized
      • Not overwhelming
  • 22. Example Things
    • Computer keyboard, cellphone, vinyl record, vitamin tablets, Aeron chair, vibrator, statue
    • Hood (UofT): blackboards, hats, political buttons, music boxes, dress, chocolate, tattoo, postcards, mirrors...
    • Other examples: rock, bumper stickers, stamp, t-shirts, car, bicycle
  • 23. Thing Characteristics
    • Bounded or boundless
    • Unique (Statue of Liberty) or category (pills)
    • Durable or transient/ephemeral
    • Technology
  • 24. Choosing Approach
    • Named theory (SCOT, SST, ANT, Symbolic Interactionism)
    • Scholars
    • Field/domain
    • Background
    • Other work
  • 25. Method
    • Description (including sensory)
    • Genealogy (history, genesis)
    • Ethnography (including autoethnography/introspection)
    • Social/cultural analysis (adoption, implications, impacts, meanings...)
  • 26. Questions to ask
    • Dimensions from Joseph Dumit’s Artifact Project http://web.mit.edu/dumit/www/artifact-long.html
    • Symbolic, Labour, Professional/Epistemological, Material, Technological, Political, Economic, Bodily/Organic, Historical, Contextual/Situated, Educational, Mythological
  • 27. Presentation
    • More than “show and tell”
    • Plan ahead
    • From “work-in-progress” to “almost done”
    • “ Office hour presentations”
  • 28. Paper
    • Bring together
    • Sociology/anthropology of thing
    • Case studies
  • 29. Next Week
    • Dant on Driver-Car
    • Schnapp on Moka Express
    • Barthes on New Citroën