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Material Culture Studies


Administrative Unit:Art History
College/School: College of Letters & Science, School of Human Ecology
Minors and Certificates:Graduate Certificate

Core Faculty: Professors Cook (Music), Gordon (Design Studies), Martin (Art History), Schroeder (Anthropology; Associate Professors Allen (Scandinavian Studies), Andrzejewski (Art History), Aylward (Classics), Gilmore (Landscape Architecture/Folklore Program), Nelson (Design Studies); Assistant Professor Kroiz (Art History). Affiliate Faculty: Professors Bernstein (English), Buenger (Art History), Cahill (Art History), Drewal (Art History), Enstad (History), Geiger (Art History), Hutchison (Art History), Kenoyer (Anthropology), Leary (Folklore), Loeser (Art), Nyhart (History of Science), Phillips (Art History), Vaughn (Journalism and Mass Communication); Associate Professors Chopra (Languages and Cultures of Asia), Cridler (Art), Dale (Art History), Dennis (Landscape Architecture), Mithlo (Art History/American Indian Studies), Sacaridiz (Art), Schatzberg (History of Science); Assistant Professor Shin (Design Studies)

Overview

Graduate students admitted by any academic department on campus may pursue a graduate certificate in material culture studies. The program is an interdisciplinary collaboration in the study of the material world and is jointly sponsored by the School of Human Ecology (Design Studies) and the College of Letters & Science (particularly the departments of Art History, Folklore, and History). Material culture encompasses the study of the creation, uses, meanings, and interpretations of the tangible products of human endeavor, most commonly objects, buildings, and landscapes. Special faculty interests include exhibition study and practice and vernacular art and architecture traditions. A new partner is the Buildings–Landscapes–Cultures Ph.D. Companion Program, in which graduate students have the option to take architecture courses at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Graduate Certificate 

The primary focus of the certificate in material culture studies is to teach different methods and approaches for studying objects as evidence. Those in the program seek to understand how historical, cultural, behavioral, and social meanings can be revealed and studied through objects as well as how material things in turn shape human experience. Students learn ideas, methods, skills and practices that prepare them for careers in higher education, museums, historical societies, architecture and design, product design, advertising, historic preservation, and journalism. Another goal is to introduce a variety of professional career paths for those interested in the relationship between objects, history, and culture. Internships at local museums, historical societies, and other organizations as well as class field trips and activities allow students to bridge the academic and professional worlds.

For more information: Professor Ann Smart Martin, 205 Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-5684; asmartin@wisc.edu; www.materialculture.wisc.edu.