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Reclaiming Archaeology: Beyond the Tropes of Modernity

ISBN: 9780415673921 | 0415673925
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Routledge
Pub. Date: 5/6/2013

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Archaeology has been an important source of metaphors for some of the key intellectuals of the 20thcentury: Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Alois Riegl, Michel Foucault, and AndrÚ Malraux amongst others. However, this power has also turned against archaeology, because the discipline has been dealt with perfunctorily as a mere provider of metaphors that other intellectuals have exploited. Scholars from different fields continue to explore areas in which archaeologists have been working for over two centuries, with little or no reference to the discipline. It seems that excavation, stratigraphy or ruins only become important at a trans-disciplinary level when people from outside archaeology pay attention to them and somehow dematerialize them. Meanwhile, archaeologists have been usually more interested in borrowing theories from other fields, rather than in developing the theoretical potential of the same concepts that other thinkers find so useful. The time is ripe for archaeologists to address a wider audience and engage in theoretical debates from a position of equality, not of subalternity. Reclaiming Archaeologyexplores how archaeology can be useful to rethink modernity's big issues, and more specifically late modernity (broadly understood as the 20thand 21stcenturies). The book contains a series of original essays, not necessarily following the conventional academic rules of archaeological writing or thinking, allowing rhetoric to have its place in disclosing the archaeological. Each section retakes a classic archaeological trope (and craft) and demonstrates: how the trope is related to modern categories, discourses and practices, and the political and epistemological outcomes of this relationship; how the trope has, in turn, inspired the intellectual endeavours of modern thinkers, scientists or artists; and how the archaeological reality that informs the trope could be re-appropriated and creatively mobilized to challenge or reshape modern categories, discourses and practices. This latter point is the main aim of the volume. Reclaiming Archaeologyincludes essays from a diverse array of archaeologists who have dealt in one way or another with modernity, including scholars from non-Anglophone countries who have approached the issue in original ways during recent years, as well as contributors from other fields who engage in a creative dialogue with archaeology and the work of archaeologists.


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