S14
Drawing epistemological lines in the sand

Convenors:
Sheila Kohring (University of Cambridge)
Location:
Wills G25
Start time:
17 December, 2010 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The session brings together individuals situated in the various strands of archaeology in an attempt to highlight points of tension in archaeological practice and whether we exist as a discipline with a coherent epistemological remit and, if not, where might we find disciplinary solidarity.

Long abstract:

This session explores the way archaeology is carved up by dividing lines from within the discipline itself. While we all call ourselves "archaeologists" - and we are usually perceived as such from the exterior - we often create artificial boundaries between categories of archaeology, categories we all comfortably use: academic and contract, social and scientific, theoretical and culture historical, North American and European - the list can continue and often relies on deeper dualities within broader society. By creating these dividing lines, in effect we are fragmenting the basic epistemological structure of the discipline by narrowing and shaping the methodological structure and practice of how archaeology is conducted in each "category". This, of course, shapes interpretation and even theory to the point that we must ask if we now exist in a world of archaeologies rather than archaeology. The session brings together individuals situated in the various strands of archaeology in an attempt to highlight points of tension in archaeological practice. The session seeks to address whether we exist as a discipline with a coherent epistemological remit and, if not, where might we find disciplinary solidarity (or, if we can't, is that a bad thing?).