Social Archaeology and Debating Local Scholars

Author(s): Enrique Rodriguez

Year: 2016


How can archaeologists both benefit from interaction with local communities and also debate with local scholars? Engaging with local scholars can sometimes require walking a fine line between imposing foreign values in a colonizing manner and accepting ideas that are either incorrect or that promote oppression and inequality. Theoretically-informed social archaeology can help us engage with local scholars with respect and debate their ideas with the goals of promoting social justice, and without the colonizing effects of imposing ideas on others. In this presentation I will examine how Elizabeth Brumfiel debated a local scholar during our field season in 2007 for promoting ideas that she considered sexist in a public forum. The example shows that the usefulness of archaeology need not be immediately apparent from the moment of research design for archaeology to be socially relevant. The example also shows that grounding knowledge in social theory and in the details of substantive cases can be used to debate and change oppressive ideas in the present without falling in the imposition of ideas associated with colonialism.

Cite this Record

Social Archaeology and Debating Local Scholars. Enrique Rodriguez. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403769)


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Spatial Coverage

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