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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Standpoint Matters: Transformative Criticism in Archaeology

23rd October 2012, 17:30, Dowrick Suite, Trevelyan College, Professor Alison Wylie

Archaeology has seen a major sea change in the last few decades as a growing range of stakeholders, especially Indigenous, Aboriginal, and First Nations descendant communities, demand accountability to their interests, their conventions of practice and conceptions of cultural heritage. What are the implications of this for archaeological practice?

Internal debate in North America has been dominated by anxieties about the costs of response to these demands: the focus is on high profile examples of research opportunities lost and professional autonomy compromised by legal constraints and by intractable conflict. All too often this obscures local initiatives that illustrate what becomes possible when practice is reframed as a form of intellectual and cultural collaboration that extends beyond the boundaries of professional archaeology. In the case of collaborations with Native American communities, the archaeologists involved describe any number of ways in which their research programs have been enriched, not only expanding the empirical and interpretive resources on which they draw, but often throwing into relief key framework assumptions that have gone unquestioned. These collaborations are, in short, a source of transformative criticism. Professor Alison Wylie offers an account of how and why the effective engagement of diverse standpoints matters to the well-functioning of archaeological inquiry.

Further information about Professor Alison Wylie

This lecture is free and open to all. 

Directions to Trevelyan College

Map - Trevelyan College is denoted as building No: 9

Contact for more information about this event.