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What is material culture? How and when was it Developed?
How people are defined by the objects they use. It is part of the origins of the study of anthropology and archaeology in western Europe and America in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries and closely linked to the development of modern museums.
What is Anthropology?
Refers to the study of humans.The study of what it means to be a human in a biological and social sense.
From where did Nineteenth century museums develop?
- From a much longer tradition of displaying souvenirs and curios in 'cabinets of curiosity'
- used to display artefacts and natural history specimens from the many countries with which western European explorers and settler colonists had increasingly frequent contacts with during the early modern period.
What are the three age systems of Chronological approaches?
- Developed by Danish scholar Christian Jurgensen Thomsen (1788-1865) in 1820s
- Stone age, Bronze age, Iron age .
Who further developed the idea of stone age and how?
- John Lubbock- English scholar 1834-1913
- Split- Palaeolithic - old stone age
- Neolithic - New stone age
What else was outlined in Lubbock's 1865 book?
- Cultural evolution of Humans.
- Unilinear development.
Who was Augustus Henry Lane Fox?
- Developed Typological approach. Inherited Pitt rivers name and estates from great-uncle.
- Became Lieutenant general Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers became first Inspector of ancient monuments.
What was Pitt River's Typological approach?
A methodical approach to excavating and documenting archaeological sites and the cataloguing of excavated artefacts- extremely influential in the development of modern archaeology.
How did Pitt Rivers exhibit?
Objects displayed from primitive to more complex forms.
What are Contextual approaches?
A move away from the museum to the field as a focus of anthropological interest for the study of human societies.
Who is often attributed to the demise of museum anthropology?
Franz Boas (1858-1942) who rejected the evolutionary models of culture which dominated museum anthropology and developed the contextual or relativistic approach which has come to be more closely associated with contemporary anthropological notions of culture.
Who was Franz Boas?
A German-American anthropologist who undertook several periods of ethnographic field work with Inuit people in Canada and among north pacific coast groups during 1880's 1890's. 'Each culture establishes its own standards and notions of value'
How did Boas organize his displays?
Boas Had the artifacts in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians organised according to provenance(the place they originated from) in the first instance. A number of life forms were installed, consisting of Mannequins posed in a way which demonstrate the ways in which the objects were worn or used together. This is today referred to as Cultural relativism
What is participant observation?
- Immersion in another society or social group with the purpose of recording their customs and ways of life.
- Another way of thinking of this is to see it as a shift in emphasis from the indirect study of humans by way of their material cultures in museums, towards the more direct study of human cultures in the field itself.
Who was one of the most influential figures in the development of participant observation method?
- The Polish Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski
- (1884-1942)- Studied at the London school of economics. undertook field work on Mailu island in Papua new Guinea in 1914. and then on the Trobriand Islands where he was exiled due to the outbreak of the first world war.
In 1922, What did Malinowski write was the task of the Ethonographer .
To grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of the world.
What is the Kula cycle?
- Trade of bracelets by Trobriand Islanders.
- Every few months they launch in canoes and visit other islands to take part in feasting and gift giving and to exchange and barter for items of local manufacture or local resources.
- During these visits they would obtain Kula valuables-red shell-disc(clockwise) and white shell armbands( counter clockwise). being traded in a circle or cycle.
- The terms of the exchange were strictly controlled according to specific rules and customs.
Who was Marcel Mauss?
A French sociologist who wrote the book 'The Gift' about the exchange of gifts relating to The Kula Cycle
What is an object biography?
- The history of an object, what has happened to it during its life cycle.
- Relate to a specific object and form a narrative history of that object.
What can be answered by biographies?
- Where does a thing come from, who made it?
- What has been its career so far, and what do people consider to be an ideal career for such things? What are the recognized ages or periods in the things life, and what are the cultural markets for them?
- How does the things use change with its age, and what happens when it reaches the end of its usefulness?
What did Janet Hoskins distinguish in her book
'Biographical objects:How things tell the story of people's lives (1998)?
- Two different kinds of approach to object biography.
- 1st- most dominant within Anthropology- starts with Ethnographic research and builds a story about how particular objects are perceived by the people they are linked to. the makers viewers consumers of the object.
- 2nd-Most used by Archaeologists, historian or art historian, is to start with the object itself and to try to build a context for it by using written sources such as diaries, inventory and other documentary records where they survive. or with their context to other objects with which they were found.
What is an object-driven approach?
Builds a story around an object based on the ways in which it was used
What is an object-centred approach?
Focuses on the individual object and the information it can provide in and of itself.
What are the three stages of an objects life cycle?
- After life
What is an objects production?
Procurement of raw materials, design, manufacture.
What is an objects consumption?
Use, Gifting, exchange and discard
What is an objects afterlife?
recycling, museumisation, display and representation