POSTPONED: Contemporary Archaeology as a Decolonial Project

The Joukowsky Institute regrets that we must POSTPONE the Contemporary Archaeology as a Decolonial Project roundtable. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will post new dates if/when the event is rescheduled.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

1:30pm – 5:40pm

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology,
Rhode Island Hall, Room 108
Brown University, 60 George Street, Providence, RI

What does a decolonial archaeology of the recent past look like?

What particular methodologies can we use to decolonize?

What does decolonization mean?

In recent years, scholars and communities have been advocating for the decolonization of archaeology and for the use of archaeology to decolonize narratives about the past. This push emerged out of the post-colonial turn in the late 1970s and 1980s and is in line with a broader movement within the humanities and social sciences that critiques the continuum of Western modes of knowledge production, colonialism and contemporary forms of social injustice.

Decolonizing archaeologists and cultural heritage professionals acknowledge the role of the discipline in the emergence of the modern world along lines of ethnic, racial, gender and class inequalities. They also mobilize their craft to build new forms of collaboration with historically disenfranchised communities and to bring visibility to alternative forms of knowledge production. However, the field of contemporary archaeology has remained largely empirical and marginal to the decolonizing project. This situation is problematic insofar as the archaeologists of the contemporary do not only deal with the production of knowledge about the past, but also focus on the material consequences of colonial relationships in the present.

In this half-day roundtable, open to the public, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World invites scholars to examine the ways in which the questions and methods employed to study the materiality of the modern world can be used as tools for decolonization. Taking interdisciplinarity as a key component in the practice of contemporary archaeology, we propose a debate to establish the field as a political opportunity to transform the modern world. Scholars of material culture from various disciplines will discuss their approaches to decolonizing the recent past, particularly focusing on research projects and professional practices that confront coloniality in contemporary societies.


Saturday, April 11, 2020
Rhode Island Hall, Room 108

Peter van Dommelen (Brown University)

Rui Gomes Coelho (Brown University and University of Lisbon)

2:00-5:00 ROUNDTABLE
Parker VanValkenburgh (Brown University)
Whitney Battle-Baptiste (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Sanja Horvatinčić (Institute of Art History, Zagreb)
Rachael Kiddey (University of Oxford)
Trinidad Rico (Rutgers University)
Stephen Silliman (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
Lukasz Stanek (University of Manchester)

5:00-5:30 DISCUSSION
Yannis Hamilakis (Brown University)

Rui Gomes Coelho (Brown University and University of Lisbon)