HNAA03221U The object and the museum

Volume 2013/2014
Curriculum for the BA-programme in Middle Eastern Languages and Society with specialisations in Arabic, Assyriology, Hebrew, Near Eastern Archaeology, Persian, Turkish and Egyptology, 2010 and

Curriculum for the Master’s Programmes in Ancient and Medieval Near Eastern Studies 2008

This tilvalg course offers a unique occasion to examine key themes in Islamic material culture, with archaeologists at the University of Copenhagen, and with museum specialists in the Davids Samling and Nationalmuseet. Current approaches to Islamic material culture of the Islamic past centre on who owns the past, but reflect varied art historical and archaeological traditions and theoretical underpinnings which encompass both areas of strength and weaknesses.

In this class we will explore museological and archaeological perspectives, examining the interfaces between art history and archaeology, and considering public and academic responses to Islamic objects. It will be taught at the University of Copenhagen (KUA2) and include four discussion and practical sessions at the Davids Samling, and a fifth at the National Museum.

Classes will provide the opportunity to debate current issues, and explore key case studies from across the Islamic world. Students will gain hands on experience of Islamic objects, consider how and why they were made and analyse their contemporary significance. Students will be encouraged to actively participate in discussions, and will undertake short writing exercises during the course and complete a written assessment of ca. 10 pages.

The course is open to university and open university students interested in material culture, Islamic studies, archaeology and art history and the role of material culture in the modern world. The following major topic and themes will be discussed:

pre-modern and current perspectives on Islamic material culture

  • changing theoretical and political perspectives in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • the archaeology of production, technologies and artisanship
  • archaeometric approaches
  • stylistic analysis and artefact taxonomies
  • object histories
  • historical and contemporary curatorship and collections management
  • ethics and ownership, material culture in the modern world
  • acquisition; copies, fakes and market forces
  • contemporary relevance, the role of a museum
Learning Outcome
BA tilvalg 2010-studieordning:
Kronologiske, regionale og temaorienterede studier
(fagelementkode HNAB10151E)

KA 2008-studieordning:
Special Topics in Archaeology (fagelementkode HNAK03221E)

Insoll, T., 1999. The Archaeology of Islam, Oxford: Blackwell, Ch. 5, Art, Trade, Ideas, pp. 133-165.

Miller, D., 2005. Materiality, Duke University Press Books, Ch.1 Materiality, an Introduction, pp. 1-51.

Milwright, M., 2010. An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology, Edinburgh University Press. Chs 1 & 7, pp. 1-23 & 143-158.

Necipoǧlu, G., The Concept of Islamic Art: Inherited Discourses and New Approaches’, in B. Junod, G. Khalil, S. Weber and G. Wolf, eds, Islamic Art and the Museum, London: Saqi, 2012. Journal of Art Historiography, 6. http:/​/​​doaj?func=abstract&id=1041021

It is expected that the students can read litterature in English and German
Class instruction with active participation of the students
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Excursions
  • 10
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Practical exercises
  • 10
  • Preparation
  • 322,5
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Total
  • 412,5
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment