An American excavation in Palestine (1926-1935): the random inclusivity of archives, images, and text

Doug Bailey, PhD

Professor of Visual Archaeology

Department of Anthropology, San Francisco State University


From 1926-1935, the Berkeley-based scholar William Frederick Badè led an American-funded excavation in Palestine at Tell en-Nasbeh. The archives for this project form the majority portion of the holdings of the Pacific School of Religion’s Badè Museum in Berkeley. Archives are problematic animals. They don’t always behave as one might what them to. In this seminar, Professor Bailey explores the Tell en-Nasbeh archives with particular focus on the socio-sexual-political dynamics of a foreign project in a region whose people were on the verge of violent revolt, the consequences of which remain with us today. The archives also shine light on the religious-financial machinations within Berkeley, and suggest that the Palestinian identity of the archive (and its holding institution) were erased under pressure from administrators and fund managers.



Doug Bailey (PhD, Cambridge 1991) is Professor of Visual Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at San Francisco State University. While his early research and fieldwork focused on the European Neolithic, current attention concentrates on developing the trans-discipline of art/archaeology: using the materials from the past to make creative work in the present. One part of that project is an interrogation of the museum archive; relevant work includes Doug's 2020 article "Releasing the visual archive: on the ethics of destruction" as well as his installation Releasing the Archive, exhibited in Lisbon (Carpintarias de São Lázaro, 2021) and Santo Tirso (International Museum of Sculpture, 2020).

Doug's books include Breaking the Surface: an Art/Archaeology of Prehistoric Architecture (Oxford, 2018), Unearthed (Sainsbury Centre, 2010), Prehistoric Figurines: Representation and Corporeality (2005, Routledge), and Balkan Prehistory (2000, Routledge). At San Francisco State, Doug teaches the history and philosophy of archaeology, visual anthropology, and research methods; he supervises graduate students working at the intersection of art and archaeology."

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Wed January 25th 2023, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Doug Bailey