Queer and Complex: Everyday Life and Politics in Mesoamerican Prehistory

Author(s): Chelsea Blackmore

Year: 2015


When we speak of complex societies, archaeologists focus primarily on broad systems of power, socio-political access, and economic control. These discussions, both explicit and implicit, continue to be framed by heteronormative, androcentric and classist assumptions. Elites and men (as conceptual and literal heads of households) remain the primary frame of reference for how states operate and who and what matters in our discussions of complexity. In this paper, I explore how notions of complexity have affected discussions around ancient Mesoamerican everyday life and practice. Using queer and feminist theory, I interrogate the ways in which the normalization and standardization of archaeological evidence ignores social variation and the impact that "queered" identities (whether queered/marginalized by the discipline or by social standards in the past) had in shaping civil society. Interpretations of the ancient Maya state, for example, remain intellectually and materially divided for the most part from discussions of lower status peoples and everyday life. Given the extensive conversations and critiques that have attempted to redress this issue both within and outside of anthropology, why does it persist? And in what ways can queer theory help us unsettle these assumptions?

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Cite this Record

Queer and Complex: Everyday Life and Politics in Mesoamerican Prehistory. Chelsea Blackmore. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395580)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;