Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
Can we write a place-oriented history of our past? Our lives, the way we define ourselves, our memories and experiences are tightly intertwoven with the nature of places we live in, the history of towns and countrysides that we belong to, and the landscapes in which we grow up. The concept of place, as a site of human practice in and with the material world, has recently become a prevailing concept in the humanities and social sciences, a hot topic. In this course we will explore how archaeology and ethnographic research addresses material complexities and cultural meanings of places in the broader context of landscapes. We will investigate critical theories of place, space and landscape, while working with case studies from the ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the contemporary world. We will seek the question, how through particular fieldwork practices of archaeologists, anthropologists, contemporary artists, geographers and mapmakers, one can access and document the rich meanings, stories, and memories of places, their layered material corpus.
Particular attention will be given to Anatolian landscapes through its long-term history with a special focus on springs, caves, sinkholes, river valleys and river sources distributed in the landscape, and various ways such geological features and "natural" places are inscribed with human practices. Using a multi-sited approach to archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork, we will investigate in detail various practices of place-making. We will also be concerned about cultural biographies of sites, diachronic change in the landscapes and explore how they were used and re-inscribed by various societies in a long-term perspective.