London Seminar

Fall 2023 Seminar: Curating London: Using Objects to Tell New Stories

Felicia Else: Professor of Art and Art History

This dynamic interdisciplinary course gives students the vast resources of London's museums and cultural sites to be their own curator and storyteller of objects. From crown jewels to prehistoric bones to worn-out shoes, London displays a wondrous array of art and material culture, objects that have inspired tales of glory and heartbreaking sorrow. Students will experience it all-from the glories of royal splendor to the detritus of "mudlarking", the practice of scavenging the banks of the Thames. We'll look at alternative views on cultural heritage and the ethical obligations of institutions to respond to under-represented or mistreated communities. The issues are timely and powerful, involving repatriation, colonial occupation, gender and the legacies of global political and economic forces. Each student gets to choose a theme that spans interdisciplinary boundaries, reflects diverse meanings over time and bridges multiple museum collections, and will learn to understand the power of objects, cross disciplinary boundaries, question the past and craft new stories.

This seminar can satisfy an IDS requirement and can also satisfy an Art History major/minor and/or Public History minor requirement.