Name of Lecturers: E. Petridou, V. Galani-Moutafi, P. Panopoulos, E. Papataxiarchis, E. Tsekenis

Course Code: ΠΑ/Σ-065
Type of Module/Course: Seminar
Year of Study: 3rd -4th ,
ECTS Credits: 7,5
Teaching Units:3

    Content Outline: The aim of the course is to shed light on how things affect our lives, mediate in building social relations and contribute in the shaping of cultures. We will examine how things encode meanings and function as codes of communication, how they both reflect and constitute social hierarchies and power relations, how they are embedded in the construction of gender and other forms of identity. Also, by adopting phenomenological approaches, we will examine how materials participate in embodied practices and in the formation of subjectivity and personhood. Finally, we will explore the limits of materiality – a rather problematic and culturally biased concept. Ethnographic examples will be used throughout the course to illustrate the theoretical points presented.


    1. Introduction to the study of things (E. Petridou)
    2. Material culture, commensality and gender (E. Papataxiarchis)
    3. Material culture and tourism in Greek ethnography (V. Galani-Moutafi)
    4. The material culture of clothing (E. Petridou)
    5. Materialities of sound (P. Panopoulos)
    6. Personhood, food and efficacy of ritual: an African example (E. Tsekenis) Learning Outcomes: Students will develop a better understanding of the workings of things in everyday life in a variety of cultures. They will learn how to look for the stories that things can tell through ethnographic research and understand their contribution in the crafting of cultures and selves. They will also realize the cultural constraints that exist in our understanding of the relation between man and the material environment. Additionally, due to the limited number of participants, the course will provide students with the opportunity to carry out guided intensive work, and develop their skills in class discussions and oral presentations as well as essay writing.

    Prerequisites: Good command of the English language.

    Recommended Reading:

    Miller, D. (2010)  Stuff, Cambridge: Polity, pp. 12-41, 42-78

    Tilley, C. (2001) “Ethnography and material culture” in P. Atkinson et al (eds) Handbook of Ethnography, London: Sage, pp. 258-271

    Warnier, J.-P. (2001) “Α praxeological approach to subjectivation in a material world.”         Journal of Material Culture 6(1): 5-24.

    Woodward, I. (2007) Understanding material culture, London: Sage.

    Learning Activities and Teaching Methods: Lectures, oral presentations by students, discussion.

    Assessment / Grading Methods: Class participation, two written essays (3000 words each).

    Language of Instruction: English.

    Mode of Delivery: Face to face. Compulsory attendance.