Material Culture and Public Humanities
This cross-disciplinary degree with two interrelated emphases (material culture and public humanities) shares common intellectual issues and employment goals. Material culture is the study of material or physical objects, as well as the placement of those objects in critical, theoretical and historical perspectives as the products of distinct cultures. Public humanities bridges the divide between academia and the public by encouraging dialogue between scholars and communities on cultural and social issues.
This MA degree prepares graduates to interpret material culture and engage communities with humanities issues within informed historical/ cultural frameworks, so that they are prepared for a wide range of careers in museums, historical societies, and community and cultural organizations.
The curriculum entails a minimum of 30-credits of graduate courses. Those students who wish to also complete a thesis will take an additional 6 credits, for a total of 36-credits. Those seeking funding through a GA or GTA, applicants should apply by February 15; final application deadline is April 15.
The degree is housed in the Department of Religion and Culture and is jointly administered between faculty in the Department of Religion and Culture and the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, as well as the Program in Art History in the School of Visual Arts of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. The MA fosters creative alliances with non-profit cultural institutions such as the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation (overseeing ‘Round the Mountain and The Crooked Road’), Historic Smithfield, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Montgomery Museum, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Taubman Museum of Art, the O. Winston Link Museum, the History Museum of Western Virginia, and the Harrison Museum of African American Culture. For more information, contact Aaron Ansell or Michelle Moseley.
The curriculum entails a minimum of 30-credits of graduate courses. Those students who wish to also complete a thesis will take an additional 6 credits, for a total of 36-credits. All students will take five common core courses, with an option to choose between a preservation course or a public history course, depending on their emphasis on either material culture or public humanities. All students will also complete an internship/practicum project and report in a museum, historical society or cultural organization. Each student will be formally mentored by at least one faculty member in the creative formation of their plan of study.