2020 Maymester Seminar: Collections, Collectors and Collecting

Engraving from Ferrante Imperto’s Dell’Historia Naturale (Naples, 1599)

Here’s a sneak peek at a Maymester seminar we’re offering (May 13 – June 2, 2020). Led by MALS program director Michael Garval, the course includes site visits around the Triangle and multiple guest lecturers. 

What do we collect, both as individuals and as societies? What motivates us to collect, and informs our choices about what to keep and preserve? In the largest sense, what do the things we collect, and the ways we collect them, tell us about our relation to the world around us? 

Shelley Garrigan, a professor of Spanish, discusses “Collecting Mexico.”

“Collections, Collectors and Collecting” is an interdisciplinary course that looks at collecting from a broad range of perspectives, tracing it from the early modern “cabinet of curiosities” through contemporary digital archives. Along the way, we will consider such topics as the looting and “collecting” of art treasures in war, conflict and colonization; obsessive collecting and hoarding; the rise of consumer culture, with mass produced “collectibles”; data collection and surveillance; and the paradoxical “collection” of trash — of discarded items that accumulate, endure and ultimately haunt our modern world. The course includes guest lectures, and site visits to museums, libraries, special collections, archives and flea markets.

For more information about this and other MALS seminars, please contact Charlotte Wilkins at cbwilki2@ncsu.edu.

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