Some thoughts on archaeology and politics
I just returned from a splendid few days in beautiful (though icy) Quebec City, where I attended the annual Society for Historical Archaeology conference. While there, I gave a paper (with Maria Theresia Starzmann) titled “Techniques of Power and Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past,” as part of an excellent session on the political economy of identity.
We received a good response to the paper
, and so I wanted to share it here. A few caveats first. This is not a peer-reviewed work; it’s an attempt by Maria and I to push our field’s debate over what constitutes responsible political engagement toward what’s termed praxis, or “theoretically informed action.” Our paper is based upon our reading of relevant literature, our own experience in the field, and our understanding of how archaeology defines the legitimate role of an academic knowledge producer. It has not, though, been subject to a thorough critique by multiple colleagues (“peer-review,”) so we ask that anyone who wishes to cite it to please speak with us first. That said, we welcome any comments. You can download a PDF by clicking the link: Roby and Starzmann SHA 2014-final.
We’d like to publicly thank everyone who was in attendance and who gave us feedback after the session.
EDIT: My mistake, I did not have clearance to post the paper. Edits reflect.