HISTORY 592 - Topics in Asian History
Winter 2017, Section 001 - Material Culture: Body, Objects, and Knowledge in Chinese History
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Undergrad and Grad
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The study of material culture is an interdisciplinary field that offers new insights into the historical relationship between humans and their material environments. In this course, we will learn basic methods and perspectives in the study of material culture and explore how they can be used within the context of Chinese history from ancient times to the modern era. Under the thematic rubrics of “body,” “knowledge,” and "society,” we will read selections from a diverse array of sources in history, art history, the history of science and technology, and anthropology in order to think about the following questions: What is the relationship between texts and non-texts (such as the body, objects, and oral communication) in the shaping of historical experiences and our perceptions of them? How does the study of material culture change our view of the state, the operation of power, and class relations? How does it reconstitute the agencies of women and other underrepresented historical subjects? And finally, how is it instrumental to the study of knowledge, technology, and skills? Part of the course will be taught using the Asian art collections from the University of Michigan Museum of Art. All readings will be provided by the instructor; no books are required for purchase.

Course Requirements:

A short review paper and a 10 page final research paper on an material object selected by the student. Final presentations at the end of the course. Weekly Canvas responses on the readings.

Intended Audience:

Open to all undergraduate students without prerequisites. Master's students may also register, but they will be given different assignments.

Class Format:

Two seminars per week


HISTORY 592 - Topics in Asian History
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM

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