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Postcolonial New Materialist Archaeologies: (Questionable?) Questions that Count in Mesoamerican Historical Archaeology

Author(s): Guido Pezzarossi

Year: 2014

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The influence of new materialist perspectives in anthropology/archaeology has sparked a reconfiguration of the objects, methods and scales of study in the discipline by radically contextualizing human actors within the networks of diverse associations and dependencies with human and nonhuman entities that afford agency and action and structure events and processes. However, this move has entailed a necessary complicating of agency, intention and causality in archaeological interpretation that on the surface appears at odds with postcolonial approaches that have thrived by uncovering the ‘hidden transcripts’ and diversity of subaltern agency and resistance in colonial and capitalist contexts. In this paper, I argue that materialist theories productively intersect and extend-rather than conflict with- the critically important contributions and perspectives of postcolonial and indigenous archaeologies. The archaeology of a colonial Maya community in Pacific Piedmont Guatemala provides a case study for highlighting the future theoretical and methodological potential that materialist approaches hold for the archaeology of colonial encounters and capitalism in Latin America and beyond.

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Postcolonial New Materialist Archaeologies: (Questionable?) Questions that Count in Mesoamerican Historical Archaeology. Guido Pezzarossi. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436627)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-7,17

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America