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Topics in Archaeology

This course critically considers the theme of ‘identity’ in archaeology. It starts with an examination of the practitioners themselves, reflecting upon how issues of class, gender and race have influenced the production of archaeological knowledge. We then turn to the various social identities that scholars claim to be able to view in the archaeological record, i.e. through material culture and practice, rather than focusing on human remains alone. These include the archaeologies of the individual, together with a variety of other axes of identity: age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc., examining both why we should be interested in eliciting such information and the methods that – allegedly – allow us to do so. Finally we revisit some of the issues surrounding the definition of larger social groups, starting with a review of culture history before considering the impact of various newer approaches and methods (practice theory, isotopic and genetic analyses etc) in the return to an archaeology that moves beyond both processes and the individual to discussing communities and ‘peoples’.

ANTHROP 710

Topics in Archaeology

Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): Graduate Term(s): Fall Offered?: No

This course critically considers the theme of ‘identity’ in archaeology. It starts with an examination of the practitioners themselves, reflecting upon how issues of class, gender and race have influenced the production of archaeological knowledge. We then turn to the various social identities that scholars claim to be able to view in the archaeological record, i.e. through material culture and practice, rather than focusing on human remains alone. These include the archaeologies of the individual, together with a variety of other axes of identity: age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc., examining both why we should be interested in eliciting such information and the methods that – allegedly – allow us to do so. Finally we revisit some of the issues surrounding the definition of larger social groups, starting with a review of culture history before considering the impact of various newer approaches and methods (practice theory, isotopic and genetic analyses etc) in the return to an archaeology that moves beyond both processes and the individual to discussing communities and ‘peoples’.


Tristan Carter

Associate Professor