Enfants de la patrie: Historical Archaeologies of National Identity and Nationalism

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

Since the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the start of the French Revolution (1789), the western world has seen a rapid rise in modern conceptualisations of national identity and the nation state, as extensively studied and theoretised by historians. While historical archaeology has a rich tradition of studying ethnicity and race, it has traditionally been somewhat less willing to look at how archaeological data and archaeological practice form and inform the concept of national identity in the post-1500 period, the formation of the modern nation state over the same period, and how this identity is intimately and inseparably entangled with, yet still distinct from, ethnicity and race. The present session seeks not only to present specific case studies of the historical archaeology of national identity, but also to examine and critique the study of nationalism within historical archaeology specifically, as opposed to archaeology generally.

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  • Documents (11)

  • Archaeology without Ottoman Past: Historical Archaeology in Turkey (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Fahri Dikkaya.

    Archaeology can be recognised as a modern preoccupation with our own past worlds in order to write a history of the present. Discursive formations of archaeology have been constructed by political powers and their cultural-academic institutions. Political powers present their desire to discover a meaning in history through their epistemological shifts by refusing previous or alternative powers. Each epistemological mutation of discourses in these constructions has been produced by addressing the...

  • Community Conservation: A ‘Hands-On’ Approach for Bringing the Rhetoric of Preservation to the People! (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natascha Mehler.

    The Conservation Laboratory at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is a year-round artifact treatment facility that is open to the public during the museum season. The lab works to preserve artifacts from a variety of regional archaeology projects. Museum visitors have the rare opportunity to see conservation as it happens, and to ask questions about the treatment process. As part of Vermont Archaeology Month in September 2013, conservators have taken more direct action in engaging our...

  • Crossing the battlefield: Archaeology, nationalism, and practice in Irish historical archaeology (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Audrey Horning.

    ‘In other countries the past is the neutral ground of the scholar and the antiquary, with us it is the battlefield.’ The Nation, Dublin 1852. Questions of nationalism and identity are inescapable within Irish archaeology, with interpretations of all sites shaped by the convoluted relationship between Britain and Ireland. Nationalist rhetoric in the Republic ensured that archaeological research prioritised periods predating English control, while in Northern Ireland the unresolved conflict...

  • Harald Bluetooth’s Welfare State: The Archaeology of Danish Royalty and Democracy (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Margaret Comer.

    Although much has been written regarding the ways the ancient past is used to construct Danish national identities, the role of historic archaeology in these politically-concerned endeavors also merits attention. In particular, historic museums and archaeological sites that are related to the Danish royal family and others who played parts in Denmark’’s transition from a kingdom to a modern nation-state perform an active role in the creation and dissemination of ideals of ‘Danish-ness’ and...

  • An historical (landscape) archaeology of the Alps: their rediscovery, their transformation during the period of Romantic nationalism, and their instrumentalization during Nazism (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natascha Mehler.

    Until the 18th century, the Alps of Central Europe had been viewed by the bourgeoisie as a rather hostile border region. In contrast, from the late 18th century ‘purposeless’ Alpinism developed under the influence of the Romantic movement, characterized by an enthusiasm for nature and the ‘mystification’ of the landscape, resulting in a perception of the Alps as the ‘Playground of Europe’. A scientific interest in the Alps simultaneously developed, connected to the Enlightenment. Romantic...

  • An Historical Archaeology of ‘Ottomanism’: Reconsidering Nationalism in the Landscape of the Dispossessed (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lynda Carroll.

    The effects of nationalism on the practice of archaeology in the Eastern Mediterranean has been well examined. However, few archaeologists examine late Ottoman period nationalisms as the focus of their research. Yet massive population movements during the 19th and early-20th centuries resulted in new settlement patterns for refugees and resettled groups. Despite a state sponsored ‘Ottomanism’ project aimed at diffusing the resultant ethno-religious tensions, these landscapes became another...

  • ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ ‘ The Historical Archaeology of Nationalism and National Identity in Trans-Atlantic Context (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alasdair Brooks.

    This paper is designed as an introduction to the symposium ‘Enfants de la patrie’ on the historical archaeology of national identity and nationalism. The North American and European experiences of nationalism from the 17th century onwards are compared and contrasted with a view towards not just contextualising similarities and differences in the conceptualisation of national identity, but the different archaeological approaches to the subject. As with the session as a whole, the emphasis is on...

  • The role of historical archaeology in the emergence of nationalist identities in the Celtic countries (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Harold Mytum.

    Although prehistory was used by some cultural brokers in the definition of nationalist identities from the late 18th century onwards, it was historic periods were most frequently brought forward in argument and used as an inspiration for nationalistic argument and symbolism. Documented named groups and individuals on the one hand, and material objects ‘ both sites and portable artefacts ‘ on the other, provided the warp and weft to weave nationalist narratives. Antiquarianism and early...

  • Ships, history, politics and archaeology : A critical look at the research History of ship archaeology in Germany (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mike Belasus.

    During the period at the end of the 19th and early 20th century German historians saw their duty among others in the education of the people of the young nation towards a national identity. The Hanseatic League was seen as a predecessor of the German Empire and the cargo ship of the German merchants, which was then identified to be the ‘Cog’ became its symbol. The need to visualize this vessel gave reason for the attempt of a technical definition which could serve the national idea.When the...

  • There is plenty of time to win this game, and to thrash the Spaniards too: Deconstructing the Nationalist Histories of Plymouth, UK (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Newstead.

    During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Plymouth, UK, played host and stage to a number of people and events which form an important part of England’s national historical narrative. Popular discourse paints Plymouth as a place of legendary English explorers, merchants and naval captains: a fledging ground for the early ambitions of Nation and Empire. Hawkins, Drake, Frobisher, Gilbert and Raleigh all sailed, at various times, from Plymouth. The English fleet victualed in Plymouth...

  • ‘Vecino, Hispano, y Mexicano’: Exploring Civic Identity in Nineteenth-Century New Mexico (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kelly Jenks.

    Generations of American anthropologists have studied the process of Spanish colonization through the lens of ethnicity, considering how interactions between colonial and indigenous populations resulted in the mixing and reformulation of ethnic identities. This approach works well in the early colonial period, when colonial society was organized into a system of ‘castas’ that were determined, in large part, by one’s ethnic heritage. It is less appropriate during the late colonial and early...