Finding symmetry? Archaeology, Objects, and Posthumanism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Well before the turn of the century, it had become clear that archaeology's aspiration to study the past was, true to the modern project, a pretext for a deeper desire to fabricate its objects. Material culture, materiality, the material past, material residues, heritage - the objects of interpretive (post-processual) archaeology could only be characterized as a continuation of this modern project. While finding symmetry was tied to an upheaval from this mode of disciplinary production, it may now be characterized as one cue among others in more agile archaeological theory. After briefly contrasting archaeological thought before and after the turn of the century, this article sketches out some of the core features of an object-oriented approach to things, including symmetry, irreduction, emergent causality, and strangeness, among others. It then outlines how, by finding our way alongside things, we might aspire to ever more creative work with archaeological objects and their pasts. Finally, it closes with a few words on Posthumanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-485
Number of pages9
JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

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