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Occupying historical archaeology

June 1, 2013

frifeaturelogoI was recently asked by Terry Brock, guru of archaeology social media, to submit a guest post for the Society for Historical Archaeology’s Current Topics blog. After some thought, I decided to write about the points of overlap between Occupy and historical archaeology: specifically, what each can learn from the other.

(As an aside, it was a great pleasure working with Terry. He’s a terrific editor who made a number of suggestions that improved the piece overall. In addition, I’m indebted to Maria Theresia Starzmann, who read an earlier draft and offered her usual thoughtful and trenchant comments. Of course, any errors or omissions in the piece belong to me alone.)

My entry posted Friday; here’s an excerpt:

Occupy has always been a big-tent movement, both in terms of its membership and of the issues its activists raise. This is a hallmark of consensus-based groups. Two themes stand out to me as fundamental to most of those who continue to organize under the Occupy banner: A focus on community formation and reproduction, especially in the interstices of the state; and an accessible, critical analysis of the social implications of global capitalism. In other words, “How do we validate intentional, interest-based social ties between people?” and “How do we demonstrate the ill effects of profit and exploitative labor on the daily lives of people in our communities?” Community-formation and reproduction, and the effects of capitalism, are significant parts of the research agendas of many of us working in [historical archaeology], and Occupy has helped prime the public to be receptive to capitalism-centered theory and praxis in ways that we have rarely seen.

Please check out the entire post here, and leave a comment on the SHA site if the spirit moves you. I’ll be monitoring them and replying.

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