Department of Human Ecology

Material Culture Studies

Material Culture research in the Department of Human Ecology considers the social meaning of objects in relation to their creation, use, circulation and consumption in both contemporary and historical contexts, with a particular emphasis on clothing and textiles. The focus on these particular material goods is enhanced by the Department’s museum quality Clothing and Textiles Collection which consists of more than 20,000 textile and garment artifacts. The interdisciplinary research in this field seeks to reveal how material forms are central to the socialization of human beings into culture. 


Anne Bissonnette, Associate Professor

Anne's work is in the field of material culture studies and dress history. Her areas of research consist of fashion from the late eighteenth century to the present day, with a special interest for the cut and construction of clothing, how the body and clothes interact, and on the convergence between art, fashion and science.


Vlada Blinova, FSO/Lecturer


Arlene Oak, Associate Professor

Arlene Oak's research in the area of material culture studies explores how language (especially talk) is implicated in the creation, mediation, and consumption of the material world – a diverse environment that includes artworks, fashion, consumer products, graphic design, museum artifacts, buildings, urban settings, and many, many other items.


Megan Strickfaden, Associate Professor

Strickfaden’s current research interests include three core themes around people’s experiences with and the production of material culture. These research themes are made up of collaborative teams that involve researchers from the University of Alberta and international institutions as well as graduate and undergraduate students. 


Patrick Devlieger, Adjunct Professor

Patrick Devlieger's interests focus on social and cultural aspects of disability in Africa, the United States, and Europe. He publishes on disability concepts and experiences in cultural contexts


Kristof Van Assche, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Kristof Van Assche is Professor in planning, governance & development at the Faculty of Extension and an Adjunct with Human Ecology.


Ron Wickman, Adjunct Professor

Ron Wickman specializes in barrier free design.