Lecture Schedule: Thursday 2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. – location TBA
Faculty: Willeke Wendrich, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Wendy Teeter, Fowler Museum of Cultural History
Steven Nelson, Art History
Librarians: TBD

#TBT Throwback Thursday is one of the most popular tags in Instagram. A person’s history is closely linked to cultural environment present and past. Cultural heritage is a topic that is considered by many university departments from many different angles. Archaeologists on campus examine the material culture—buildings, homes, tombs, temples, treasures—of past civilizations with an eye aimed at arriving at an understanding of how non-extant societies made sense of themselves and the world in which they lived and worked. Art Historians consider how different peoples around the globe use the plastic and visual arts to represent themselves and tell their stories. Anthropologists, folklorists, and performance artists focus on how human identity is represented in such intangible expressions of culture as myth, legend, folklore, music, and dance. Scholars in museum studies and digital humanities work to present all of these different facets of human culture to the public at large, without doing harm to the heritage of those who produced these works of self-representation.

We will discuss questions such as:

  • How can we preserve tangible or intangible heritage in a time when much destruction happens?
  • What is cultural memory and how does it influence cultural narratives?
  • What are traditional “great discoveries” in archaeology, and do we still think they are great?
  • By whom and how are history or culture represented?
  • How is the present day population involved in archaeology?
  • What is the meaning of a landscape, and for whom?
  • How do museums present tangible and intangible heritage?
  • Whose heritage is it?
  • Is World Heritage a problematic term?
  • and many, many more

Course Format

The first quarter of the cluster brings to the fore the big topics in cultural heritage and has a strong focus on debate and writing. Each week there will be a debate with different faculty for which you will prepare yourself with targeted readings and a small group discussion. In the second quarter you can choose from a number of pivot courses, in which you do research in close collaboration with a faculty member. The entire group will come together once a week to discuss the different pivot class subjects. The third quarter takes you experience and allows you to deepen your research and prepare an oral presentation on the subject of your choice.

Pivot Courses – In Winter 2017 the following seminars are offered:

  • Visual Archaeology: representing the past from bar graph to game environments
  • Reconstructing Yoruba Architecture
  • Cultural Heritage Preservation CRM
  • African American Gravestones
  • Museums in the Digital Age
  • Healing: Ritual and Transformation

Required Course Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will obtain credit for required courses in the departments of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, World Arts and Cultures and Art History. The courses fulfill electives and partial required coursework (upon petition) in other departments. See your Department Counselor to petition. Additionally, the courses will help to satisfy UD electives units.