Material culture of the People’s Republic of China

Lecturer: Angie BAECKER

6 credits

This course offers an in-depth examination of the material culture of modern China from the Republican period to the Reform era, with a focus on the Maoist era from 1949 to the late 1970s. By focusing on the design, production, consumption, and circulation of the material culture everyday life, we will make sense of how the profound changes experienced during the twentieth century translated into the material, aesthetic, and cultural experiences of everyday people in China. We will look at how objects came to signify abstract concepts such as socialist modernity, feudal backwardness, or revolution, and ask how material goods can carry multiple associations, from the ideological to the aesthetic. The class will examine a variety of objects, including ceramics, consumer goods, enamelware, interior design and decor, lantern slides, photographs, posters, and textiles, paying particular attention to the relationships formed with objects and the cultural meanings ascribed to them.

100% coursework