Exploring the Collections: An Anthropologist in the University Museum Storeroom


Event Details


Speaker: Carla Sinopoli, University of Michigan
Location: Salomon Hall, Room 001Anthropologist are explorers. We travel to exotic locales to excavate ancient ruins or learn from indigenous communities. Many of the materials gathered in our research are now in the storerooms and laboratories of University museums. In this talk, Carla Sinopoli (University of Michigan), opens the storerooms of the remarkable Asian collections of the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology to discuss how archaeological and ethnographic collections made at the start of the last century continue to be of value today. Dr. Sinopoli focuses on three collections, each with complex (and disturbing) histories: the Worcester collection of photographs from the colonial Philippines; ceramics and other artifacts from the U-M Philippine Archaeological Expedition (1922-1925); and sacred paintings and religious objects from the Himalayan Expedition of 1932-34. Sponsored by donors to the Jane Powell Dwyer Lecture Fund and the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

Carla Sinopoli is the Curator of Asian Archaeology and Ethnology in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, where she is also Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Museum Studies Program. Since 1983, she has conducted archaeological research in South India, focusing on the imperial city of Vijayanagara and more recently, on emergent social inequalities in the first millennium BCE. Her archaeological research focuses on political economy, craft production and material culture, particularly ceramics. She has published widely on these topics as well as on museum collections and collecting, and is currently working on an edited volume on the history of UM museums and a second edition of her book Approaches to Archaeological Ceramics.

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