Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Our Things, Our Selves: Lives With and Without Possessions

Instructor(s): Saleema Waraich, Art History

Exploration of the significance of objects in constructing and forming our selves (our individual and collective identities) and our personal narratives. Students will consider the importance of objects present in our lives as well as examine the impact of the absence of objects as a result of tragedy and loss: what is left behind, lost, looted, or destroyed due to forced migration, war, tragedy, and natural disasters. Our examination of possessions in our lives will follow five socio-political themes: the rise of capitalism, colonization and the tandem movements of people and goods, the experiences of people forced to migrate, loss due to personal tragedy and natural disasters, and the accelerating impact of capitalism on the earth’s resources and people. Following these perspectives, we will engage some of the most pressing concerns of our age and explore strategies for addressing these issues to effect change. Students will draw upon their own personal and family relationships to ‘things’ to consider the roles that objects play in our personal lives, the meanings we ascribe to objects, and their significance in our personal and collective narratives.


Course Offered

  • Fall 2019