ANT 325L • Cultural Heritage on Display
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
This course is designed to take you behind the scenes in the museum world to examine some of the issues and challenges facing museum exhibit curators, sponsors, donors, and visitors in representing global cultures anc communities in the 21st century. We will examine the changing roles of cultural and history exhibits and museums in today's world, and the different jobs they are asked to do--from collecting and preserving things--and sometimes people!-- to teaching and entertaining their audiences. Through discussions, readings, films, slides, and field trips, we will explore the question, "What does it mean to show?" To answer this question, we will look at how cultural exhibits of today compare and contrast to other American settings for the display of culture such as city festivals, commercial movies, cartoons, entertainment centers; virtual sites, shopping malls, and other tourist attractions. The class format will be structured around discussions and in-class activities, as well as lectures, field trips, and student research-based presentations. Sixty percent of the grade will be based on three short projects based on readings, in-class materials, and student-initiated research. A research paper, film, exhibit or other fieldwork-based project will count for 30% of the grade; the final 10% of the grade is based on class participation.
Readings will be selected from some or all of the following texts: a teacher-generated packet of articles; Ivan Karp and Stephen Lavine, eds.: Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display Freund Thatcher: Objects of Desire: The Life of Antiques and Those Who Pursue Them Steven Conn, Museums and American Intellectual Life, 1876-1926. Sally Price: Primitive Art in Civilized Places Ruth B. Phillips and Christopher B. Steiner, eds, Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Post colonial Worlds. Steven Lubar and W. David Kingery, eds. History from Things: Essay on Material Culture.