Intersubjectivity and a Theory of Actively Engaged Heritage Practice

Author(s): Tiffany Cain

Year: 2016


Engaged heritage practice locates its core around the reflexivity of its practitioners and the dialogic nature of its projects. Indeed, the relevance of heritage work is arguably inextricable from its capacity to recognize the needs and interests of both researchers and community members, however defined. Those needs and interests can be better addressed if we look more critically at the subjectivities of participants and non-participants in our projects, ourselves included. This paper proposes that an action-oriented exploration of intersubjectivity may bolster theoretical works surrounding cultural heritage practice. In doing so, I turn particular attention to the wanting discussion surrounding gender in stakeholder-focused archaeological heritage work. I suggest that one of the reasons gender in heritage practice is understudied is that practitioners have, for important social and political reasons, had to contend with the role and impact of other subjectivities like race and class first. Drawing on field experience in Quintana Roo, Mexico, I consider the gendered dimensions of fieldwork and the limitations of particular methodologies and interpretative frameworks, particularly the highly masculinist representations of historical violence and tendency toward discussions of economic sustainability as the prominent value of community-based participatory research projects.

Cite this Record

Intersubjectivity and a Theory of Actively Engaged Heritage Practice. Tiffany Cain. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403628)