Folklore & Folklife
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Center for Folklore and Ethnography
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Undergraduate Minor
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FOLK 655 640 Objects of Memory

J. Theophano
Seminar: Monday 6:00-8:00

As well know anthropologist was once asked, "Why do some cultures produce more things than others?" We will address this issue as we explore the production, meaning, and use of manuscripts and books. We will begin with an understanding of the role of environment and archaeology, cultural anthropology, history, folklore, popular culture, and religious studies, we will see how these disciplines have used material culture to interpret the past and define the present. Throughout the class we will move between a disciplinary focus and one that centers on the perspective of individuals within their own cultures. Besides looking at the creation of these objects we will also consider consumption, commodification and display. What are the consequences of these issues for the definition of self and identity, including age, gender, social status, and ethnicity? Finally, how do individuals bridge, integrate and experience the social and natural worlds through material culture? Short writing assignments leading to the completion of a longer paper and class presentations are required.

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