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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course is organised around a series of seminars and visits to selected museums. The course is divided into two parts. The first addresses approaches in anthropology to the meanings of artefacts; the second considers contemporary curatorial practice. Assessment is based on an artefact study, which will involve original research utilising the collections of the University of Aberdeen, and an essay in which students reflect upon the course as a whole.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Alison Brown

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Museums are often regarded as the public face of anthropology and have increasingly become viewed as contested places in today's world. This course provides an introduction to museums as a field site for anthropology. Using case studies and current debates within critical museology it draws attention to aspects of the culture, history and functions of museums, and to their emerging role within projects of cultural revitalization.

Themes to be covered may include how artefacts are defined and valued in different contexts; how meaning is negotiated in exhibitions; relationships between museums and indigenous peoples; digital technologies and 'knowledge repatriation'; traditional care and curation; ownership and appropriation.

Further Information & Notes

Available only to students in Programme year 4.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

  • One 3000-word artefact study (50%)
  • One 3000-word essay (50%)

Formative Assessment

Informal verbal feedback will be given on the artefact studies during class presentations. Written feedback will be given to students on all summative assessments in line with the University's guidelines.



Course Learning Outcomes


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