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This free course, An introduction to material culture, introduces the study of material culture. It asks why we should study things and outlines some basic approaches to studying objects.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand what material culture is
- understand the origin of material culture as an area of study in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century
- understand the concepts of 'object biography' and the 'life cycles' of things.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- Why study things?
- How to study material culture
- What is material culture?
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
An introduction to material culture
Why study things? Or put another way, what can we learn from objects that we can’t find out from the reading of texts? There’s no simple answer to these questions but, as we shall discover in the course of this course, there’s no getting around the ubiquity of things.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Visual Art courses or view the range of currently available OU Visual Art courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 11th January 2016
Last updated on: Monday, 11th January 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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