Creating the Past in the Present: Critical Reflections on Fur Trade Archaeology

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

This session proposes to look at how recent developments in theoretical approaches to the North American fur trade have shaped the kinds of questions we ask about this phenomenon, as well as the relevance of fur trade archaeology to current issues on identity, politics, and race. Participants are invited to take a critical look at the way fur trade archaeology has been carried out in the past and the state of research in the present: have our recent approaches to the fur trade and colonial encounters in the Great Lakes region brought meaningful insight onto the past? Has our knowledge of the fur trade challenged our conceptions of colonialism? Alternatively, scholars may also reflect on the ways historical and archaeological studies have served to create the past in the present in producing particular narratives in the United States and Canada. What political and economic stakes are involved in the production of such narratives?