Anthropology in 100 Objects – Rebecca Pfister

Anthropology in 100 ObjectsPhoto by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos

What do a reusable carrier bag, a sorority girl pendant, a lottery ticket, a shoe brush and a high-tech sickle and a mat have in common? Anthropology is the answer!

Anthropology is the “science of humanity”, and indeed the unveiling of ‘Anthropology in a 100 Objects’ in the foyer of the CMB was full of human warmth, enthusiasm and animated conversation.

Held in the foyer of the Crystal Macmillan Building, and organised by SocAnthSoc in the School of Social and Political Sciences, the event was centred around the exhibition of a hundred anthropology-related photographs of objects from around the world.

The idea for the exhibit is based on the British Museum’s History of the World, focusing on the relationship between things and people.

The exhibition explores how objects relate to people’s history, their culture and experiences and the importance of the usage and meaning of objects, making ‘the exotic mundane and the mundane exotic’.

The objects are related to the study of Anthropology – souvenirs, gifts, and research articles which were found, bought,  and donated to researchers, volunteers and cultural aficionados alike.

Every object presented has a title, its place of origin or known history, the approximate date of manufacture, a list of its materials and a short text explaining what makes the object anthropological to the person who’s submitted it.

Having set up a website a couple of weeks prior to the event, it has been viewed by over 35 countries, with submissions from India, Bulgaria, Botswana and Brazil amongst others.

The exhibition was co-curated by undergraduates, postgraduates and curators in conjunction with the Unversity of Edinburgh’s Anthropology Society and will be on display for another week.

Quoting Hannah Arendt: “Culture relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world; entertainment relates to people and is a phenomenon of life.” The exhibition launch proved that culture and entertainment can go hand in hand when created by people interested and passionate about both.


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