This guide is intended to help you with the research for your Cultural Biography of an Object. But it should not take the place of face-to-face conversation! In addition to the sessions held during your capstone course, you can also consult with Prof. Heidi Kolk during office hours (see profile at lower left).
And as always, support in finding library resources for your research can also be provided by Jennifer Akins, the Subject Librarian for Art and Architecture (see profile at lower left).
The Cultural Biography of an Object is a modestly-scaled writing + research project on a single material or visual object that is compelling/significant to you. It asks you to explore core elements of that object’s life history, giving special consideration to its role and power as a product of culture. In what sense does an object give voice, and/or speak back, to a set of cultural ideas and attitudes at a given time and place? How have its meanings evolved?
In a 6-7 page paper you can only explore some elements of the object’s history, some aspects of cultural meaning or significance. Doing so will involve targeted research that is informed by specific questions––research that happens in stages, from doing initial observation and brainstorming to preliminary / contextual research to digging deeper in search of scholarly or other sources that help you answer your questions.
The following books are (or will soon be) on 2-hour reserve in the Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library.