Objects, Identities and Cultures


1. To promote a broad theoretical and methodological reflection around work proposals that establish significant relationships between objects, cultures and identities. 2. To refresh this issue around specific case studies derived from recent ethnographies. 3. To undertake a scientific and ethically grounded discussion on the possible practical applications of acquired knowledge.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Filomena de Almeida Paiva Silvano


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



Available soon


Appadurai, A., 1986, The Social Life of Things – Commodities and Cultural Perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 3-63 and 64. Bourdieu, P.,1979, La distinction, Paris, Minuit, 91-06 Coupaye, L. e Douny, L., 2009, Dans la trajectoire des choses - Comparaison des approches francophones et anglophones contemporaines en anthropologie des techniques, in : Techniques & Culture, 52-53. Douglas, M . e Isherwood, B., 1979, The world of goods, New York, Basic Books Ingold, T., 2010, The textility of making, Cambridge Journal of Economics 2010, 34, p. 91–102. Miller, D., 1987, Material culture and mass consumption, Oxford, Blackwell. Latour, B.1993. La clef de Berlin et autres leçons d’un amateur de sciences, Paris, La Découverte.
Weiner A., 1994, Cultural Difference and the Density of Objects, in American Ethnologist, Vol. 21, No. 2 (May, 1994), pp. 391-403

Teaching method

1. Lectures based on the analysis and critical thinking of the literature included in the syllabus. 2. Sessions centered on the students´ presentations of the readings suggested by the lecturer. 3. Seminar sessions centered on the presentation of case studies by the lecturer, followed by further discussion with the students. 

Evaluation method

Individual essay with a maximum of 10 pages and using at least six references in the bibliography (50%), oral presentations, attendance and participation in the debates(50%)

Subject matter

The CU intends to undertake an update on material culture studies, questioning two classical dividers: consumption and ethnographic objects versus museological and art objects; between "doing" and "consuming". It is structured focusing the following topics: 1) Anthropology and Material Culture - the substantialist conceptions and the conceptual dead-end; 2) The conceptual turning point of the last decades; 3) Objects and ethnographies in a globalized world; 4) Interrogate the doing.