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Materialities – past and present

The research group Materialities gather a group of researchers exploring the richness of relationships between humans and their material environments.

Close-up of a gold circle held by a person with green plastic gloves. Photo.
Photo: Marie Amundsen

About the group

Material culture studies, including archaeology, have sprung and developed from the borderlands between the modern disciplinary regimes of natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. This is evident from these disciplines’ theoretical and methodological repertoires (which to a large degree are acquired and refitted from other disciplinary contexts) and equally in the fact that archaeo-material culture studies appear, globally, within all three main-domains of the academic university landscape.

The wish to overcome disciplinary polarisation is evident in the increasing emphasis on interdisciplinarity across all areas of academia. This can be seen also in the post-postmodern/post-poststructuralist cross-disciplinary movement towards overcoming the dichotomies of nature/culture, mind/matter, human/non-human, theory/practice. A movement further exemplified in the establishment of environmental humanities and the coining of post-humanities. Incorporating indigenous voices and knowledge sets are relevant and important for deeper explorations of the past.

This research group ties into this general interdisciplinary trajectory. With background in the borderland between modernity’s great divides, and between the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, material culture studies are uniquely situated in order to bridge these current concerns, and bring important theoretical/methodological tools as well as novel data for this endeavour.

Our objectives

  • Exploring the richness of relationships between humans and their material environments
  • Triangulate perspectives and methods from critical heritage studies, archaeometry and studies of deep pasts
  • Bridge the gap between studies of social organization and ontology
  • Overcome the polarity of theory and practice in research and teaching




Published Dec. 20, 2021 12:12 PM - Last modified Aug. 29, 2022 1:53 PM