The Humanities–including the disciplines of art, history, literature, and music–investigate how people make sense of and communicate about their worlds; we regard public humanities as a mode in which academics work for and with people in knowledge- and culture-making spaces beyond the university.
Material culture encompasses those tangible things–objects, landscapes, bodies–that humans have “shaped to their use and pleasure” (Babcock); our studies examine these artifacts and processes from critical, theoretical, and historical perspectives, viewing them as expressions of distinct cultural logics and the products of political struggles.
Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary MA Program in Material Culture and Public Humanities (MCPH) develops expertise in these fields and prepares graduates for careers in museums, historical societies, arts agencies, national parks, and other community and cultural organizations. Students participate in creative alliances with non-profit cultural institutions such as the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation (overseeing ‘Round the Mountain’ and ‘The Crooked Road’), Historic Smithfield, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Montgomery Museum, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Taubman Museum of Art, the O. Winston Link Museum, the History Museum of Western Virginia, and the Harrison Museum of African American Culture.
The degree, which requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, is housed in the Department of Religion and Culture (RLCL) in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and is jointly administered by colleagues in the Department of History and the Program in Art History (School of Visual Arts, College of Architecture and Urban Studies).
For more information, please use our contact page to reach out to co-directors Aaron Ansell and Bailey Van Hook.