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Past, Present and Future Archaeological Becomings

Past, Present and Future Archaeological Becomings
19 Russell Street, Room AP246
Time: Apr 1st, 2:00 pm End: Apr 1st, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: Archaeology, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Anthropology Colloquium Series

The Department of Anthropology present

Anthropology Colloquium Series

Past, Present and Future Archaeological Becomings

Abstract: Archaeology by any definition - assuming it can still fit in a single definition - is not what it used to be. Trowel and brush evoke an antiquated sense of scale and means of data recovery in an age of massive scales of information accumulation. Artifact description and macro comparative analyses across one or two assemblages seem painfully limiting in a time of micron-level analyses, compositional studies, and Big Data capabilities. And accessing collections by looking at static objects under glass or as deemed appropriate to do so by curators seems quaint in an age of digital imaging and virtual archaeology. At the same time, the archaeological profession is also not what it used to be. The notion of pursuing a tenured place in the academy seems increasingly a lottery of poor odds, while academic archaeologists become an ever shrinking constituency in light of rapid and continuous growth of commercial, bureaucratic, and other forms of making a living from archaeology. Moreover, any notion that archaeology is of relevance beyond itself in society purely through the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual curiosity seems at best naïve given that archaeology now primarily operates in the service of capitalist enterprise, State-managed policy, or Descendant/community heritage -social processes and constituencies of the archaeological heritage at best only mildly sympathetic to our internalist processes of meaning-making. The insecurity and angst that comes from this constantly revising world we practice archaeology in has tended to underscore that many of the assumptions driving 20th century archaeological sensibilities are increasingly unsustainable. But what instead? What is Archaeology becoming, and what can it become? At Sustainable Archaeology we are trying, albeit one slow step at a time, to stop worrying and love what archaeology is becoming and come become, and so offer here maybe a glimpse of at least what a sustainable form of practice could become through the 21st century.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is required. For further information, please contact the Department of Anthropology at (416) 978-4805

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