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Institute of Social Anthropology
University of Bern.


The course guides students towards cultivating a critical understanding of the relationships between material culture and people. It focuses on the ways in which the material world is fundamental to grasping various facets of the societies that produced them. Reading Material Culture emphasizes that objects are not merely apathetic to understanding a given society, but that they can also take on an ardent role in helping to generate meaning(s), with the premise that material culture often bears an agency which transcends their material status.

In Collaboration with:

Musée d'ethnographie de Genève


In line with MEG`s mission of reviving objects through research, I will be working closely with Carine Ayélé Durand, Head of collections at MEG on the practical aspects of the course that places emphasis on developing the skills to interpret and analyse artefacts. Students shall work with objects from the The Musée d’ethnographie de Genève. A museum founded in 1901 with a rich collection of over 70’000 objects from around the world.

An International Conference

A conference that brought together curators and scholars working actively within academic and museal institutions around the world to discuss spatiotemporal movements of material culture, with the understanding that meanings are generated not only within the contexts objects were created but also in the spaces they traverse

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A Workshop

Co-organised with Prof. Vagner Gonçalves da Silva, the workshop scrutinised the impressions of the cross-cultural mobility of material culture as entangled with the identity politics of individuals and groups at the level of the various institutions (markets, candomblé Terreiros, museums, etc.). It took closer looks at changing connotations of material objects, their implications and narratives that give rise to criticism of commonly accepted assumptions. Through research into the relationships between objects and their places, agents and meanings. The interdisciplinary workshop invited religious leaders, scholars, artists and critics to discuss and review concepts related to the
physical and symbolic dimensions of material culture.

Research Corollaries: Research
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