First Year Seminar: The "Antiques Road Show" Comes to Tappan Hall: The Fascinating Lives of Things
Playing off the popular PBS television program, "The Antiques Road Show," where people have family heirlooms and personal collectables analyzed and assessed by experts, this seminar will allow you both to assume this expert role and to critique this form of cultural valuation and consumption. You will select an "antique" or "vintage" crafted/manufactured, material object, that has some kind of special allure and cultural significance, and investigate it over the course of the seminar, discovering its provenance, history, and value. This object can be something already in your or your family's possession that you are curious about, or something that you encounter on campus in a museum or in Ann Arbor, during the early weeks of the course. We will be particularly interested in the various phases in the "lives" of these objects, investigating their manufacture and original use and value, and then their subsequent circulation, repurposing, and revaluation. You will learn how to conduct the necessary historical research on your "antique" or "vintage" object, and there will be weekly readings assigned and group discussions about visual art, material culture, and collecting practices. There will be an emphasis on experiential learning, as we make use of campus collections and local Ann Arbor resources.
There will be two short writing assignments related to the readings, and a final paper and presentation on your "vintage" object.
Estimated cost of materials: $0-$50
This course fulfills the LSA Humanities distribution requirement.