About Material Culture Studies at University of Exeter
Material Culture Studies is a burgeoning field that is truly interdisciplinary. The programme draws on a broad range of disciplines, including not only archaeology and anthropology, but also sociology, art history, philosophy, psychology and cognitive science. The new perspectives this provides create the potential for radical new assessments of material culture in the present as well as the past. Although our underlying objective is to develop theoretical frameworks that are of use to us in interpreting the past, a number of contemporary case studies are used. Despite archaeology’s obvious focus on material culture, and its increasingly sophisticated methodologies for studying artefacts, materiality remains seriously under-theorised. In this programme we question the status of material culture and why we study it; we assess the ways in which we encounter, categorise and valorise artefacts; and we evaluate the social and cognitive life of things. This is principally achieved through seminar-based teaching in which key readings and case studies are discussed and critically evaluated. The structured links with other subject areas, in particular Classics and Ancient History, create an environment in which interdisciplinary approaches to material culture can flourish.
Entry requirements An appropriate degree in Archaeology or a related subject, normally at 2:1 level or above. For the Wetland Archaeology Masters, an Honours degree at 2:1 level or above in Archaeology, Geography, Environmental Science, or cognate discipline is required. Applicants with non-standard qualifications should contact the programme director to discuss admission.