Key Pages:

13 Things 2009

13 Things 2008

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

13 things: Archaeology, material culture, science studies and design ARCH0300

Krysta Ryzewski ([email protected]), office: RI Hall 212. Office Hours TBA

MWF 10:00-10:50 in RI Hall, Room 008

This course foregrounds one thing per week to introduce different approaches to studying things and to consider connections between technology, culture, science, engineering, and design. In total, 13 things: the wheel, a Neolithic Megalith, a castle, the light bulb, a punch bowl, a map, the caravel, barbed wire, a blade, the mirror, a Coca-Cola bottle, the portable radio, and the camera. Placing emphasis on questions of relations between humans and things over the long term, the course critically questions the importance of goods, technologies, artifacts, and the materials they're made of for humanity. 13 Things is designed to appeal to a wide range of students because the course unpacks things from a number of disciplinary angles, including anthropology, archaeology, design studies, engineering, and the history of technology, to name but a few. Students are charged with the task of selecting a thing, whether ancient or contemporary, and researching it building on the perspectives encountered in the course.

This course emphasizes project-based learning. Project-based learning involves the creative and critical integration of the topics (concepts, ideas, approaches, questions, etc.) detailed, and the skills attained, throughout the course within the study of a thing chosen by each course member. Collaboration among course members is welcome and encouraged.

Class members are required to develop their projects over the course of the semester by meeting a number of milestones at set dates—from specifying a thing to writing a project proposal to completing the final assignment. Emphasis will be placed upon collaboration and exchange through the course wiki located at:

13 Things course wiki

Projects will take the form of either a wiki-based portfolio or a classic paper-based essay. These should be the equivalent of 8 to 10 pages total. There will also be an option of creating an exhibit display in a campus gallery, which we will discuss mid-semester.

Class participation is a large portion of the final grade. Opportunities for participation include in-class discussion, Friday discussions led by pre-assigned small groups, and wiki postings.

Assessment breakdown: class participation (including reading discussion), meeting milestones and collaboration = 40%, final project = 60%.

Proviso: I reserve the right to select alternative readings if necessary.

Please see links below for schedule and readings.

13 Things home / syllabus / schedule / students & projects / 13 Things 2008