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Material Life

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Material Life in Historical Perspective

In this sequence, students will develop visual literacy, study and employ the theories of material evidence, consider the historiography of material culture studies, and examine American material culture and the built environment in historical context.

HIS 5330: Material Life in America, 1600-Present

This course provides an historical overview of the significance and methods of studying artifacts, as well as an in-depth study of home furnishings made, purchased, and used by Americans from the early 1600s to the present.  Students will examine and reflect on several topics including the ways material evidence reflects human adaptation to the environment; the social and cultural influences on manufacture, consumption, and use; and the economic contexts of American material culture.

HIS 5050: History of American Architecture

While examining the history of U.S. architecture from the 17th century to the 20th century, students will learn to read material evidence and to understand theories and methods that underlie the study of the built environment.  They will develop a visual literacy that enables them to recognize the architectural products of various times and places.