617.001
Visual Valence: Case Explorations in the Critical Analysis of Material Culture: Exhibiting Mesopotamia
270 Tappan
T 10:00-1:00pm
3 Credit Seminar
Meets with HistArt 306/Honors 251

How to exhibit what has become "MESS O' POTAMIA" in early 21st century America? What are the substantive historical excitements of Mesopotamian antiquities that museum visitors will find accessible but also intellectually compelling? What (if any) are our responsibilities to engage with war, looting, and art market cartels in displays for a university teaching museum? What are the most yeasty theoretical and political challenges relating more broadly to U.S. museums and public discourse in this particular socially-contested terrain? What are the practical, aesthetic, and didactic challenges and responsibilities special to this material (which is often perceived as esoteric and which is typically very small scale and difficult to apprehend within a vitrine)? Exhibiting Mesopotamia introduces the ancient civilizations of Iraq and neighboring western Iran through participation in real-time collaborative planning of new exhibition projects on ancient Iraq and Iran for the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Students have the opportunity to learn in a stimulating intellectual environment, dealing with real-world issues and hands-on experiences in museum presentation. Initial lectures and in-class discussions of readings will lay the groundwork of a common core knowledge enabling us to become fully seminar-like. Work product: 3 short reading commentaries, class participation, final project. Graduate student effort stresses the final term project. Topics will vary according to previous experience and professional/intellectual interests. Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100.