We live in a world of things, natural and cultural, familiar and unfamiliar, beautiful and ugly, material and, in some cases, immaterial. We are motivated and moved by things and the things of art and design are moved - modified and manipulated - by us. The things of the world have often been the subject of critical analysis and description by writers and philosophers, psychologists and art critics. This course will look at things from a variety of critical perspectives including Marxism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and art and cultural criticism. Our goal will be to enrich our understanding not only of the critical methods that help us understand our relationships with the objects of our world but also the perspectives that frame our encounters with things.