Ethnography, Routine Archaeologies, and Social Justice Research

Author(s): Christopher Matthews

Year: 2018


As the organizers of this session argue, understanding the ethics of engagement in archaeology is maturing rapidly and we are reaching the point where our community engagements are no longer self-evident. Rather we increasing understand that they need interrogation and critique, and this needs to be an embedded part of our routines. This paper will argue that knowing the nature of our engagements requires a deep ethnographic reading of the contexts of our research and the multiple roles it plays in the communities we engaged in our research. This approach draws from the transcendental empiricism described by Deleuze, such that what we do in becoming engaged, even in the most routine way, requires consistent analysis of how those we engage with come into view and why they become open to collaboration. Such an analysis is the basis of ethnographic archaeology, or the effort to understand how archaeology is and can be an agent in the communities we work with. I illustrate this approach in a review of my engagement with the Native and African American community in Long Island, New York.

Cite this Record

Ethnography, Routine Archaeologies, and Social Justice Research. Christopher Matthews. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444754)

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Abstract Id(s): 20111