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Weekly Schedule
Course Description
Rocky Point Amusement Park, Warwick RI
Ömür Harmansah

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Week 1: January 24.Introduction.

Basic definitions and preliminary discussion. Archaeology as a modern discipline. Archaeological practice between fieldwork and scholarly publication. The divided lives of archaeologists as acedemics. What is theorizing good for? How does archaeology construct its subject matter: the material past?

Week 2: January 31: Archaeology and theories of the past: a difficult relationship

What is theory? What is the relevance of theory in archaeology as a field practice, a scholarly practice? Categorization and knowledge production in archaeology. The ever-presence of the past in the present.

Archaeological theory and the all-times presence of the past: the stretch from the field to the armchair in the office.

The past in the past

From 60s to today: what has changed in the way we write about the archaeological past?

Go to Readings

Week 3: February 7. Archaeology and modernity: Colonialism, nationalism and the presence of the past

Colonialism, antiquarianism and the birth of archaeology: mapping and inventing (not discovering!) ancient landscapes, co-opting ancestral geographies, controlling the past in the Near East. Classicizing paradigm of 19th century discourse: the case of Mesopotamia. Nationalism, nation state and the use of archaeology in ideologies of modern states. The museums, museum display and imaginary pasts. The case of Germany.

Archaeology and modernity: constructions of our ancient past

Museum cultures: archaeology, nationalism and Germany

Go to Readings

Week 4: February 14. A meaningful world: cultural geography and culture-history
Discussants: Alex
Short paper: "What Is...?" (archive, site, map, fieldwork, artifact, museum, thing, figurine...) due

Franz Boas and anthropogeography. Culture-history approaches in archaeology. The emergence of the “social” in archaeological theory. Post-world war archaeology in America. Gordon Willey: towards an ecological understanding of archaeological landscapes. The two big headaches: evolutionism and environmental determinism in archaeology.

Culture-history, anthropogeography and the evolutionary perspectives

Gordon Willey and the Virú valley Project in Peru:


Go to Readings

Week 5: February 21. Scientists in the field: Processual (New!) archaeologies
Discussants: Ashley

Processual archaeologies

On Lewis Binford and his impact on archaeological theory:

Week 6: February 28. Frogs round the pond: Mediterranean landscapes, Annales school and landscape archaeology
Very Special Guest: John F. Cherry. Discussants: Tom and Brad.

The impact of the Annales school and Fernand Braudel: applications of a Braudelian approach to landscape archaeology. The Corrupting Sea: problem-oriented approaches. The ideas of cross-cultural and interregional interaction, interconnectivity and trade: various economic models. Bronze age world system of the Mediterranean.

Braudel, the Annales School and the archaeology of landscapes

Explorations: Landmark studies of landscapes using the Annales school approach

Week 7: March 6. Edge of the trovel: Postprocessual archaeologies
Discussants: Reem, Alex

Contextual archaeology: the multiple meanings of material culture in the post-structuralist discourse. The problem of meaning and symbolism in archaeology. Post-processual archaeologist goes to the field: towards a reflexive archaeology.

The past as passion and play: Çatalhöyük (a Neolithic site in Turkey)

Week 8: March 13. Boys will be boys: issues of gender and sexuality
Discussants: Katherine, Ashley

Archaeologies of gender and sexuality: Social distribution of labor and domestic contexts. Women in prehistory, ritual contexts, domestic spaces. The use and abuse of the representation of sexuality, gender and sex in modern scholarly literature.

Gender and sexuality in archaeology

Sexuality, women and representation in Western Asian domestic contexts

Week 9: March 20. Magic, craftsmen and the enchanted object: technology, agency and material culture studies.
Discussants: Keffie, Marguerite

Agency and technology in archaeology. Various social and individual agencies in the sphere of material culture; social practices and the making of artifacts. New definitions of the material world and its meanings, through a critical approach to technologies of production of artifacts.

Agency in archaeology?

Enchanted technologies and the Mesopotamian artifact: magic, ritual, power

Spring break March 22-30

Week 10: April 3. Place, space, landscape: phenomenology of the body in this world
Discussants: Katherine, Keffie

Bodies and places: the making of locality

Ethnography of landscape in Methana, Greece

Friday 5 pm Final paper proposals and preliminary bibliographies due, to be posted here

Week 11: April 10. Class postponed due to Prof Behnam Abu Al-Soof's Conversation with Christopher Lydon.

Week 11: April 17. Improvising theory, performing the site: Fieldwork experiments and archaeological ethnographies
Discussants: Tom, Brad.

The changing nature of fieldwork in archaeology: multi-sited archaeology, archaeological fieldwork as a site-specific performance.

New directions in ethnographic fieldwork: possibilities for the archaeological

Towards a multi-sited archaeology

Week 12: April 24. Politics of cultural heritage: archaeological practice and ethics
Discussants: Evie, Reem Industrial Ruins Group Projects Mock-up Posters due, to be collectively discussed

Politics of the past: archaeology in Israel

Week 12: May 1. Presentation of Student projects. (Final paper drafts due)

May 8. Industrial Ruins posters due.

May 15. Final papers due.