Society for American Archaeology CFP: Breaking Down Material Assumptions of Identity

Patrick Johnson's picture
Hi everyone,

Dr. Ashley Atkins Spivey and I are putting a session together at the Society of American Archaeology annual meeting which is
April 11-15 in Washington DC. Please email us ( and if you are interested in participating! Abstracts are due Sept. 7.

Session Abstract:
Though anthropologists and ethnohistorians problematize terms like culture, ethnicity, and identity, archaeologists often attribute artifacts to a specific group of people and interpret identity based on static boundaries of time and space. Reducing cultural identity to the material ignores the complexities inherent in the constant negotiations and renegotiations by past peoples within their communities and between their neighbors. Perspectives written or spoken by the people studied and their descendants often remain ignored, and the reuse and reimagining of objects, raw materials, and places is rarely examined. These concerns can be addressed in variety of ways. Ethnoarchaeology connects the past to the present. Archaeometry traces the movement of pots, and microstyles investigate at a smaller scale than typologies. Historical documents offer corroborating or contradicting evidence, and contemporary artists provide nuanced perspectives of the past by reimagining traditions. These and other approaches offered by participants in this session problematize connections between past peoples and materials to inform interpretations and change our perceptions of the archaeological record.

Thank you very much,
Patrick Johnson
PhD Candidate, College of William and Mary