Monday, April 27, 2009

Course description: Advanced Material Culture: Craft and Production

So I have a more formal description for my fall course! AMST498Q Advanced Material Culture: Craft and Production. This course will build on the theoretical foundation of AMST 205, using multiple approaches (ethnography, object analysis, history) to examine the
production of objects and the relationship between maker and artifact. Topics will include historical reenactment, professional craftspeople and amateur DIY (including gardening, knitting, furniture hacking, and all forms of cookery). Students will be expected to be willing to work and interact outside the classroom (required field trips and online activities).

I also have two books on order: Jane Dusselier's Artifacts of Loss (crafts in Japanese-American internment camps) and Shaping Things, Bruce Sterlings' very interesting (and very rich) work on the future of things. Dusselier's book will be a great way to reposition the discussion about crafts, which can get stuck on the mindless-hobby level. I actually don't believe that most amateur crafting is just so much meaningless filler;  when any activity consumes someone's time, money and energy, it has meaning and is worth serious consideration by cultural scholars. Being dismissive of scrapbookers is elitist and probably sexist.

There are seven students registered for the class so far and we don't start until August; exciting!

No comments: