Material Culture Project

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has set up an online exhibition for our class to view objects from their collections.

Below are links to the lists for each region we are studying.

North America

Central America

South America

The project consists of two parts:

In the first, due Monday, February 22, you will write a blog post of about 500 words describing the object and its historical context as fully as possible. To get started, think about how you would answer the questions that Daniel Waugh poses for dealing with material objects. What is it? Who made it? How was it used? How did it get where it is (which we already know is the Peabody Museum)? In other words, you should write—to borrow Waugh’s term—a brief biography of the object. Include in your blog post a brief discussion of the sources, whether online and print, that you used to prepare the post. You should aim in the first part for two or three sources.

For the second portion of the project, due Monday, April 25, you will propose a research project around the object—again in a blog post of about 500 words. Having done the preliminary research for the object, think about the questions you would like to ask or the answers you would like to find if you had the time to do a more intensive research project. What questions are left unanswered? What areas for further exploration exist but are not feasible in this timeframe and for this type of research? What other kinds of sources might be connected that you can’t access easily from FSU but that you would pursue if you would undertaking an in-depth project? To put it bluntly, about what relating to Native American history does the object make you want to learn more?

This second blog post should include a few specific elements.

  • The research questions;
  • How those questions fit with the broader issues and themes we are discussing during the semester;
  • Other primary sources you might use;
  • Secondary sources you might consult.

We will have the opportunity before this part of the assignment is due to go over how to think through some of these pieces, how to find library resources, etc.

Research Tips

You can use the following types of resources for your research on the material objects.

  • Websites (as long as they are academic and reputable) – e-mail me if not sure.
  • Library databases, such as JSTOR and Project Muse
  • Google Books
  • Books and articles you find at Whittemore Library
  • If you find a source that might be helpful but you are not sure whether it is appropriate, please contact me.

Assessment/Grading

The project will be assessed according to the following rubric:

4 3 2 1 0
Object Identification The student identified all relevant information for the object with a high level of specificity. The student made clear notes in cases where detailed information is not available. The student identified most of the relevant information for the object with at least some specificity. If information was not available, the student noted it. The student identified some information about the object, but key details may have been missing. It was not always clear why information was not provided in a description. The object description includes major flaws and gaps. The reasons for not providing information are unclear, and it is difficult to determine when information is missing or unavailable. The student made limited or insufficient identifications of the characteristics of the object.
Grammar and Mechanics Presents ideas in well-crafted, varied, engaging, virtually error-free sentences. Distinctive word choice; appropriate attitude; word choice and attitude appropriate to assignment. Conveys ideas with effective and varied sentence structure. Few errors at word and sentence level mar structure. Satisfactory word choice and attitude. Effective and accurate awareness of general audience. Clear but basic expression of ideas – little variation in sentence form, some common errors at word and sentence level. Inconsistent choice of words and attitude toward work. Many basic errors at word and sentence level, but sense of ideas conveyed. Shows almost no awareness of audience; reveals little grasp of appropriate word choice or attitude. Multiple errors in word choice, arrangement, punctuation, and sentence structure undermine sense; incoherent. No evidence of word choice or appropriate attitude to assignment.
Historical Context Excellent grasp of relevant event(s) and/or issues; clear and accurate depiction of historical facts and trends. Good grasp of relevant event(s) and/or issues; depiction of historical facts and trends is basically accurate although imprecise Adequate understanding of event(s) and/or issue(s); depiction of relevant historical facts and trends contains minor inaccuracies. Minimal understanding of event(s) and/or issue(s); depiction of relevant historical facts and trends contains multiple or significant inaccuracies. Little understanding of event(s) and/or issue(s); depiction of relevant historical facts and trends is fundamentally flawed.
Research Process The explanation of the research process is lucid and detailed, and provides relevant context and sources. The explanation of the research process is mostly clear, has some depth, and provides most of the relevant context and sources. The explanation is not entirely clear or does not fully show how research on the object was conducted. Some sources are cited, but in a limited manner. There is only a limited description of the research process used to learn about the object, with minimal reference to context and sources. Little or no research process is evident.
Research Questions The discussion includes detailed and promising research question(s) to pursue that relate the object and its context as part of a civilization to broader issues and themes in Native American history. The discussion includes plausible research question(s) that relate the object and its context to broader issues and themes in Native American history. The discussion includes a research question that relates the object to Native American history, but in a somewhat ineffective manner, or does not take into account the appropriate context. The discussion may include a question, but it does not directly relate to the object in question, or does not integrate discussion of the object in context or with the broader themes and issues of the course. No questions provided or questions not relevant to the object.
Bibliography The bibliography contains a range of interesting and informative works on subjects relating to the object, drawing from books, articles, and the web. The bibliography contains largely interesting and informative works, but there may be some limitations in its breadth. The bibliography contains several works, but they may not directly relate to the topic, and do not offer breadth among media. The bibliography contains two or fewer sources, drawn exclusively from one medium (books, articles, or the web). Little or no bibliography is included.
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: