ANTH S-1651 The Body in Art and Material Culture

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7-week session | CRN 33896

This course uses collections from the Harvard Art Museums and Peabody Museum to consider broad issues in anthropology and critical museology related to the body, as both subject and object, individual and social. Working with museum objects found in Harvard's rich collections of art, anthropology, and archaeology, students actively explore how the body has been conceptualized, contextualized, represented, and materialized across time, space, and culture. The history of museums and collecting, changing exhibit styles, museum ethics, and challenges to traditional museum practices are also explored through readings, discussion, conducting hands-on research in the collections, and critical viewing of exhibitions. The format of the course involves class discussions (informed by required readings) centered on museum collections. Integrated into every session are museum-based visits to the Harvard Art Museums or the Peabody Museum, including exhibition galleries, the art study center/object study classroom, conservation, and other departments, and students have the opportunity to interact with museum staff performing a wide variety of functions.

Course information
Class meetings

On campus
Tuesdays, Thursdays, noon-3 pm
Harvard Art Museums 0600

Start date

Tuesday, June 20


4 credits

Course tuition


Enrollment status

  • Limited to 15 students
    Registration Closed
  • Faculty

    David Reid Odo, DPhil.

    Director of Student Programs and Research Curator of University Collections Initiatives, Harvard Art Museums

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