Module Details

Module Code: MATL C2G01
Module Title: Material Culture
Title: Material Culture
Module Level:: 6
Credits:: 5
Module Coordinator: Eoin Homan
Module Author:: Orla Ryan
Module Description: The aim of this module is to develop learner’s awareness of the importance of objects and the built environment to create meaning. The module explores what objects tell us about people and places in the past and present and how we can use this knowledge in the area of set design. Learners are introduced to the discipline of material culture examining how buildings, landscapes and objects locate us in particular times but also define and focus the atmosphere in a film or theatrical production. The module will focus on how objects and locations in set design can be used to translate a full range of conceptual ideas from politics to character’s emotions and more.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Learning Outcome Description
LO1 Identity key theories associated with material culture.
LO2 Apply knowledge of how objects and environments make meaning in the context of set design.
LO3 Analyze and evaluate various interpretative strategies to research objects and environments.
LO4 Construct a developed discussion incorporating interpretative strategies used in the study of material culture.
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is recommended before enrolment in this module.

No recommendations listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
Additional Requisite Information
No Co Requisites listed
Indicative Content
The Study of Material Culture
What do objects mean? Metaphor and Translation- The biography of objects- Objects and People.
Material Practices
Agency- Consumption- Collecting - Exchange- Art- Materials in the Everyday- Performance and Memory- Pattern and Ornament.
Architecture ad the Built Environment
Vernacular-Modernism- Urban Spaces- Industrialized/ deindustrialized- Infrastructure.
Tradition and Identity
Domestic- Work spaces -Transit hubs- Confinement- Leisure.
Global Entanglements
Colonialism- Post-colonialism- The Museum- Cabinet of Curiosities- Display- Ethics of Return.
Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown%
Continuous Assessment100.00%


Full Time

Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Presentation % of Total Mark 20
Timing Week 3 Learning Outcomes 1
Non-marked No
Assessment Description
Learner's will give a short presentation on theories of interpretation in material culture.
Assessment Type Essay % of Total Mark 50
Timing Week 10 Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4
Non-marked No
Assessment Description
This assignment can take the form of a written essay (1800 -2000 words) video or audio.
Assessment Type Reflective Journal % of Total Mark 30
Timing Week 12 Learning Outcomes 2,3
Non-marked No
Assessment Description
This assignment will include 10 contributions based on learner's response to class.
No Project
No Practical
No End of Module Formal Examination
Reassessment Requirement
Coursework Only
This module is reassessed solely on the basis of re-submitted coursework. There is no repeat written examination.
Reassessment Description
Learners that fail but achieve a minimum final percentage of 30% in the module will be eligible for one or more of the following: Submit assignment, Re-submit components, Practical examination, Interview or Presentation.

SETU Carlow Campus reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Category Contact Type Workload Description Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload Hours
Lecture Contact Lecture, Seminar and discussion. Every Week 4.00 4
Independent Learning Time Non Contact Independent Study, research, reading and viewing. Every Week 4.00 4
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00
Module Resources
Recommended Book Resources
  • Anne Gerritsen,Giorgio Riello. (2021), Writing Material Culture History, Bloomsbury Academic, p.400, [ISBN: 9781350105225].
  • Arthur Asa Berger. (2014), What Objects Mean, Routledge, p.269, [ISBN: 9781611329049].
  • Dan Hicks,Mary C. Beaudry. (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, OUP Oxford, p.792, [ISBN: 9780199218714].
  • Chris Tilley,Webb Keane,Susanne Kuechler,Mike Rowlands,Patricia Spyer. (2006), Handbook of Material Culture, SAGE Publications Limited, p.576, [ISBN: 9781446270561].
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Roland Ennos. (2021), The Age of Wood, Simon and Schuster, p.336, [ISBN: 9781982114749].
Recommended Article/Paper Resources
  • Anne Gerritsen, McDowall, Stephen. (2012), Global China: Material Culture and Connections in World History, Journal of World History, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p.6,
  • Sage Publications. Journal of Material Culture, [ISSN: 1359-1835].
Other Resources
Discussion Note: