A University of Things: Object Lessons & Exhibition


Frist 100 Level - Exhibit 1

Across the spring term of 2017, a small group of undergraduates from different departments and backgrounds have worked together to get on top of recent critical writing about objects. How should we think about things? What methodological and theoretical approaches can help us do justice to all the stuff with which we are surrounded? In a mixed seminar/laboratory setting, our working group has sought to create a forum for experimental activations of new scholarship directed at these and related questions. We have explored, together, a suite of different approaches to material culture from a broad range of historical periods, paying particular attention to new philosophical and anthropological perspectives. Historical questions have guided us, but aesthetic, political and epistemological problems have never been far off. Guided by diverse readings, we have worked to heed Wordsworth's bold injunction to see into the life of things. Our collaborative final project, "A University of Things," is conceived as a pop-up exhibition exemplifying our approaches. We hope to put on display, collectively, some of what we have figured out. Visitors can expect a series of object lessons, informed by diverse concerns and manifesting divergent (if often complementary) sensibilities.