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Anthropology Colloquium Series | Shannon Novak, Syracuse University | Corporeal Congregations and Asynchronous Lives: Unpacking the Pews at Spring Street

Title: "Corporeal Congregations and Asynchronous Lives: Unpacking the Pews at Spring Street" Date: Tuesday, Nov. 22 Location: AN Bourns Science Building, Room A404 Time: 3:30-5:00 pm

Nov 15, 2016

Title: "Corporeal Congregations and Asynchronous Lives: Unpacking the Pews at Spring Street"
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 22
Location: AN Bourns Science Building, Room A404
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm

This talk seeks to expose the “fallacies of synchrony” that often accompany the analysis of human remains. In approaching a cemetery, for example, we all too easily think of the bodies there as a “community,” even when they belong to different generations or geographic contexts. This simple point has major implications, especially for the bioarchaeology of urban landscapes. Here, chronologically disparate elements accumulate in vast mélanges, offering innumerable examples of the “non-contemporaneity of the contemporaneous,” an idea developed by Karl Mannheim (1928) and Alfred Schutz (1967) and now extended to archaeology by Gavin Lucas (2015). To escape the fallacies of synchrony and explore the shifting rhythms of city life, I turn to the case of the Spring Street Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. When the church burial vaults (ca. 1820-1850) were unexpectedly unearthed in 2006,they seemed to represent a readymade “congregation.” Yet Spring Street was actually a “catchment zone” of mingled and mangled temporalities. Though placed together in death, the bodies there had only occasionally crossed paths in life. By following some of their traces to and from the site, we may come to understand what it means to gather, work, and worship together in a society of strangers.

Shannon A. Novak is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Syracuse University. She is the author of House of Mourning: A Biocultural History of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and co-editor of An Archaeology of Desperation: Exploring the Donner Family Camp at Alder Creek. Both books received the James Deetz Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology. Novak’s research interests include gender and political violence; historical memory, movement, and materiality; and multiple ontologies of the body.

 

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Speaker Series 2016-2017 Schedule:

Dec. 6

Anthropology Colloquium Series | Natasha Myers, York University
Title: TBA
Date: Tuesday, Dec.6:
Location: AN Bourns Science Building, Room A404
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm


Jan.17:

Anthropology Colloquium Series | Andrew Scherer, Brown University
Title: "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ritual Violence among the Ancient Maya"
Date: Tuesday, Jan.17
Location: AN Bourns Science Building, Room A404
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm

 

Feb.14:

Anthropology Colloquium Series | Dr. Brian Boyd, Columbia University
Title:"Making Archaeology Work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories"
Date: Tuesday, Feb 14
Location: Degroote School of Business, Room 505
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm


Mar.7:

Anthropology Colloquium Series | Elysée Nouvet, McMaster University
Title: TBA
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 7
Location: Degroote School of Business, Room 505
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm

 

Mar.21:

Anthropology Colloquium Series | TBA
Title: TBA
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 21
Location: Degroote School of Business, Room 505
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm

 

Apr.4:

Anthropology Colloquium Series | Faidra Papavasiliou, Georgia State University
Title: "Genetic Enclosures, Genetic Trespasses: Agrobiodiversity and Contestation in Greece Under Crisis and Austerity"
Date: Tuesday,
Location: AN Bourns Science Building, Room A404
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm