This website was created by students in the course “Things Don’t Like Me”: The Material World and Why It Matters (RUSS 151). In the course we draw upon the insights of scholars from such fields as history, literature, anthropology, visual art, architecture, and material culture studies, in exploring how the objects that surround us shape the world of ideas, emotions, and other essential aspects of human existence. We seek answers to such questions as: Once our basic needs are met, why do we continue to transform and refine our physical environment? Why and how do human beings invest objects with meaning—and at what cost to others? We read literary texts and analyze how the authors reflect as well as imagine material reality, and how they deploy concrete objects to create meaning in their work. Topics include: the body on the boundary between “person” and “thing”; the links between images, power, and objectification; monuments and museums as embodiments of material memory, conduits of ideology, and catalysts for controversy; glass, spectacle, and the transformation of vision; clothing as identity, convention, and second skin.