Decentering the Discipline?
Archaeology and Extra-Archaeological Communities
Session proposal for 34th Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference, University of Liverpool, 17-19 December 2012. Session organiser: Dominic Walker, Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.
In recent years, archaeologists have begun to engage more deeply with archaeology’s extra-disciplinary potential. This has been explored in theory and practice through a wide range of public archaeologies, including in collaborative, community and indigenous archaeological projects (e.g. Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Ferguson 2008; Walker 2011); museum studies (e.g. Peers and Brown 2003); archaeological heritage studies (e.g. Smith and Waterton 2009); and ethnographies of archaeological practice (e.g. Mortensen and Hollowell 2008). This programmatic debate has been felt most profoundly in countries like the U.S., Canada, and Australia, which have aboriginal nations and communities. However, some of the most challenging aspects of this programmatic debate remain under-explored, and their impact on archaeological theory and practice in the UK is unclear.
This session welcomes contributions reflecting upon and critically assessing this current programmatic debate in archaeology, either on a theoretical level or based on the lessons learned from empirical case studies and professional practice. Suggestions for topics or themes include:-
•Archaeologists’ engagement with expertise about the past outside the discipline; the epistemological challenges of engaging with extra-disciplinary expertise; and the subsequent impact on the authority of archaeologists to talk about the past
•The potentials and pitfalls of archaeology on the internet: for instance, the democratizing and emancipatory potential of social media technologies
•Efforts by archaeology museums to engage with extra-archaeological communities
•Public engagement with archaeological expertise; e.g. online and in museums
•The appropriative nature of archaeology
•The ethical and moral motivations to engage with various publics
•Archaeology’s effectiveness in addressing the needs of various publics beyond academic archaeological institutions; who should benefit from archaeology?
Please submit abstracts of no more than 150 words to dw374[at]cam.ac.uk by 28th June 2012.
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