This course explores the meanings various artifacts?from pictures, photographs and exhibits to food, clothing and money -- acquire in different social, historical, and political contexts and the ways in which these meanings are contested by a variety of social actors. Special emphasis will be given to the ways in which we relate to the past through the use of material culture. Questions that will be addressed include: Do commodities and other items of material culture merely fulfill human needs, or are they also symbols that reveal certain things about their users? What kind of light can items of material culture shed on matters of social structure and inequality, values and morality, or processes of change at particular historical moments? How is material culture used in the service of representing, remembering and forgetting the past? What constitutes ''heritage'' and who owns it? How should ''heritage'' be preserved, displayed, remembered? How is cultural heritage packaged and marketed in the context of tourism and how does tourism change the meaning of material culture and cultural practices?