Sep 25th 2014

Global Social Archaeology (Kyushu University)

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The course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the current state of social and indigenous archaeologies. By the conclusion of the course, you should have obtained basic knowledge on the history of archaeology, various trends in world archeology, indigenous archaeology, and uses of the archaeological past in the present.

The course is comprised of three parts, each divided into five 15 to 20 minute-long lectures.

Part 1 will introduce you to archaeology, what it is about, why it is fun, why we do it in the ways we do, and what meanings it has in contemporary society. We will also trace the history of archaeology by studying important archaeological theoretical and methodological packages that emerged at different times, but many of them currently co-exist. We will also learn about different archaeologies conducted in different parts of the world and consider as to why those different ways of doing archaeology have come into being.

Part 2 will introduce you to the world of indigenous archaeologies. We will learn how the western world colonised the other parts of the globe, where today’s indigenous peoples lived, and how that resulted in tremendous human sufferings and inequality which still continue in the present day. We will learn how that injustice has become recognised and what attempts have been made to amend it in archaeology. We will also learn how indigenous peoples themselves are coming to terms with this negative legacy of human history through practicing archaeology in the way which is respectful of their traditional lifeways and their ancestors.

Part 3 will consider one of the core elements of social archaeology: moving back and forth between the past and the present, and, by drawing upon the outcomes of that practice, imagining about a better future. We will study the two lives lived by gigantic Kofun tumuli of Japan, and what meanings those monumental structures, their construction and repairment, and their existence had to the people who were involved in their construction, who saw them, who at times enjoyed them, and who were charged to beautify them. By studying those episodes in the ‘life-course’ of those monuments, we will consider the relationships between the past, the present, and the future, which will be constituted through our experience of the past. We will conclude the course with a conversation between myself and Professor Smith, which hopefully inspire your imagination as to how what we learnt in the course will be used for the creation of a better future.

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