A Biography of Place: Thinking Between Texts and Objects at the Saint Joseph Mission (Senegal)
Author(s): Johanna A. Pacyga
Mission archaeology benefits from a rich documentary archive produced by missionaries themselves, church and government officials, sponsors and charitable organizations, and—ideally—converts. Biography emerges as a potent method of organization and mode of analysis, allowing the archaeologist to name, follow, and order traces in the archives and the archaeological record. Thinking about archaeology as crafting a compelling biography of place allows for the articulation of intimacies and particularities of global processes materialized at a specific site.
In piecing together an array of narratives, I seek to unveil the intimate histories that reverberate through the material remains of the Catholic mission of Saint Joseph (Senegal, 1860-1930). This paper offers a reflection on the process of ‘finding’ individuals who offer up snippets of their own biographies—and those of others—in the archives, and reconciling those voices with the so-called biography of objects at an archaeological site defined by artifacts, structures and spatial relationships.
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A Biography of Place: Thinking Between Texts and Objects at the Saint Joseph Mission (Senegal). Johanna A. Pacyga. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441193)
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min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;
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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology