The Angel of History and the Paradise of Progress in the Scholarship of Peter Roe

Author(s): George Mentore

Year: 2017


In honor of the innovative contribution by Peter Roe to the ethno-archaeological research on Amazonia, my paper will focus on the indigenous knowledge forms which invert our own logics about material objects. Roe’s early willingness to allow indigenous thought to impact our scientific interpretations was well ahead of its time. Today, we on the ethnographic side of Amazonian scholarship, have little difficulty speaking in terms of the "social life of things." Yet, even beyond, the legitimacy of the "social" within the discipline, we still retain reservations about going all the way into Amerindian thought processes to speak about the "truths" of shared subjectivity between things, animals, and humans. What happens to our modernist interpretations of studied artifacts when we extend to them the vital existence we claim only for us humans? Would they radically transform archaeology? Would they change our view of humanity? How much of a threat to current modern politics and laws of national heritage would such an altered position produce? The answers to these and other relevant questions will be posed within the paradigm of a concern for the "aesthetic," an attribute of scholarship Peter Roe long advocated for anthropological research.

Cite this Record

The Angel of History and the Paradise of Progress in the Scholarship of Peter Roe. George Mentore. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429079)



Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14321