Things structure our lives. They enrich us, embellish us and express our hopes and fears. Here, to introduce a month-long focus on research on material culture, four academics from different disciplines explain why understanding how we interact with our material world can reveal unparalleled insights into what it is to be human.
Every object in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology tells not just one but many stories. The Museum’s collections chronicle two million years of human history, revealing the diversity of human life over millennia and the ongoing dynamism of world cultures in the present. Many individual artefacts reflect histories and cultures that are contested.
Hundreds of objects which tell the story of 100 million of India’s most marginalised citizens – its Indigenous and Adivasi people – are to go on display for the first time in a ground-breaking exhibition at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) from today.
New analysis reveals a strong correlation between precolonial institutions in Africa and current levels of deforestation. Researchers suggest that many of these structures still operate at a local level, controlling and exploiting natural resources under the radar of the state, and that such legacies of governance pose a major challenge for implementing conservation policies.
The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, D is for Dragon. Watch out for fire-breathers among the treasures of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, in Anglo-Saxon proverbs, and in fantasy literature from medieval Scandinavia to the present day.
Indigenous people from the snow forests of Inner Mongolia and Siberia have been reunited with century-old photographs of their family and communities as part of a research project and exhibition at the University of Cambridge.
Research by a digital anthropologist is looking at how new religious movements are harnessing online platforms. These ‘invented religions’ take inspiration from ancient philosophy and recent cultural events to develop doctrine and communities of believers in digital spaces.
A study by Tibetan scholar Lobsang Yongdan revisits a long-ignored section of a historic text to reveal how Tibetans were engaging with western scientific knowledge two centuries ago. His research into a geography of the world, first published by a lama in 1830, challenges stereotypical views of Tibet as an isolated and inward-looking society.
A PhD student’s research at Cambridge’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science has revealed how racist ideas and images circulated between the United States and Europe in the 19th century.