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SA4059 Living with Material Culture

SCOTCAT credits:30
Academic year(s):2016/7
SCQF Level 10
Planned timetable:To be arranged.

This module creatively addresses anthropological approaches to material culture and develops a critical understanding of how things play a part in human social relationships. We will explore how people live through things, using the body to transform materials from the environment into artefacts; consuming and displaying objects; incorporating them into domestic activities such as house-building and home-making, even living in them; transforming us in life cycle events such as weddings and funerals; re-membering our pasts through tourist souvenirs, monuments or ceremonial shrines; and creating things which move us, whether 'magical artefacts' or 'works of art'. Students will become familiar with both key theoretical texts in material culture studies and the variety of artifacts and ways of representing them which have become almost iconic in material culture and 'ethnographic art' (from rock art sites to heritage centres; from masks to Surrealist art; from domestic artifacts to folk art).

Place in programme(s) and relationship to other modules


Optional for Social Anthropology

UG Pre-requisite(s):SA2001 and SA2002 with passes at grade 11 or better in both

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact:1 lecture, 1 seminar.
Total module hours:
  • Scheduled learning: 77
  • Guided independent study: 223

Assessment pattern

UG As defined by QAA:
  • Written examinations: 50%
  • Practical examinations: 0%
  • Coursework: 50%
UG As used by St Andrews:3-hour Written Examination or Take-Home Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%
UG Re-assessment:6,000-word Essay = 100%


Module coordinator:Dr A Joyce
Module teaching staff: