‘But they just sit there’: using objects as material culture with Year 8

Teaching History article

By Gabriella West with Sarah Longair, published 7th July 2023

Using objects as material culture with Year 8

Having specialised in the history of material culture during her degree, Gabriella West was struck by the dismissive attitude of her pupils towards the study of material objects from the past. She therefore set out to find the perfect object through which to induct her Year 8 pupils into the history of both the Mughal and British empires in India, and, at the same time, into the value of material culture to an historian. In this article, West explains the resulting sequence of lessons which she planned for her pupils. Centred on the life-cycle of a silver casket from Mysore, her enquiry illuminated both the history of the period and the silences in its interpretation...

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