Stanford University

Sessions and Papers

Open Call for Sessions and Papers

Submit a session or paper

Two days of the conference will be dedicated to concurrent breakout sessions that will be organized by conference participants. We welcome session proposals and papers that engage with any dimension of archaeological theory and practice. Sessions may critically engage with the plenary theme or invite discussion on other epistemological, political, and ethical aspects of archaeological practice and data analysis. We encourage participants to consider a broad range of topics and formats—ranging from a series of 20-minute papers, lightning talks, and roundtable discussions. Scholars wishing to submit individual papers that are not attached to formally proposed sessions are also encouraged to do so. All sessions should be planned to be either two hours or three hours in length. Because discussion is an essential part of TAG, two hour sessions should not include more than five 20-minute papers and three hour sessions should not include more than six 20-minute papers.  

Session proposals should be made by February 14, 2020. The deadline for individual paper contributions to an accepted session or a general session will be March 15, 2020. Please note that there is a limit for each individual participant of one presentation as primary presenter (it is possible to also be a second presenter on other papers). In addition, participants may organize or chair one session, and act as discussant in one session.

Please note that all participants must also register for the conference by March 15, 2020.

TAG 2020 Sessions


Doug Bailey - San Francisco State University

20 minute papers, performances, creation of new works in situ

In this session contributors explore the potential for an art/archaeology: the disarticulation of objects from their pasts; the repurposing and reconstitution of the resulting components as raw materials; and the use of those materials for the creation of original work that engages social or political issues. Individual contributions will include presentations of work by artists and archaeologists, and critical reviews of recent publications and exhibitions (e.g., the "Ineligible" and "Can You Dig It?" exhibitions in Portugal and Sweden, respectively). In addition, the session will include in situ experimentations and explorations of the potentials that lurk in the uncharted territories beyond the traditional boundaries of art practice, art history, archaeology, anthropology cultural heritage studies, and related disciplines.

Session tags: art, archaeology, art/archaeology

Archaeology is Hard Work: Labor Activists on the State of the Field

Allison Mickel - Leheigh University

20 minute papers

Archaeology produces: sites, assemblages, archives, publications, questions, and knowledge. To do so, archaeology requires particular arrangements of bodies, minds, and money; it is an industry, and relies fundamentally on labor. One challenge in thinking through the nature of archaeological labor is the diversity of arrangements that exist. Excavation fieldwork abroad has frequently relied on locally-hired site workers, while contract archaeology involves paid professionals usually hired on a project-by-project basis. Student and volunteer labor, too, has sustained a number of projects, often with these excavators paying their own way to participate in digging, collection, and analysis, in exchange for experience and training in the field. Meanwhile, museums and heritage sites have their own economic arrangements and approaches to labor management. Within archaeology, some scholars have worked to describe the nature of labor involved in archaeology. Robert Paynter (1983), for instance, described how archaeology’s productive nature required the CRM industry to take on the corporate labor structures and management practices of other capitalist ventures, leading to a phenomenon of “deskilling” in archaeology. Shanks and McGuire (1996), looking not only at CRM but at archaeology more broadly, characterized the work of archaeology as a “craft,” to capture the full embodied knowledge required to participate in archaeological research. Others have also attempted to describe the character of archaeological work and furthermore to imagine and argue for more equitable arrangements (e.g. McGuire and Walker 1999; Hamilakis and Duke 2007; Faulkner 2013; Atalay 2014; Leighton 2016) This session builds on this line of thinking and asks what labor activists—union champions, labor movement icons, and racial justice activists concerned with work—might have to say about archaeology. Presenters will examine key issues of labor and economic equity in archaeology through the lens of speeches and writings by labor activists of the 20th and 21st centuries. What would Samuel Gompers, or Eugene Debs have to say, for example, about contemporary unionization (or lack thereof) in archaeology, for contract excavators and for academics? How would A. Philip Randolph or Lucy Parsons respond to continued racial inequality in archaeology? Together, we will consider both the economic and experiential aspects of labor in archaeology, and seek inspiration for creating a more just future for archaeology’s workers. Other topics might include: imagining new modes of pay and salary distribution; hierarchy; healthcare; safety; disability; other frameworks of archaeology as an industry.

Session tags: labor, economics of archaeology, activism

Archaeology in the Age of Digitocene: discussing critical approaches, onto-ethics and policies of digital practices

Monika Stobiecka - University of Warsaw

Kasper Hanus - Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences

20 minute papers

The radical shift from “spade-work” to “screen-work” (Edgeworth 2015) that archaeology has undergone through the recent years, did not provide the discipline with new, appropriate to digital work-flows, theoretical and critical frameworks (Mamzer and Ostoja-Zagórski 2007). Even though, many of the researchers in the digital and cyber field announced the raise of “digital culture” or “digital ecosystems”(Forte 2007, Roosevelt et al. 2015, Jones and Levy 2018), this significant change in archaeological practice did not contribute to the formulation of a new, vital theory that could respond to the digital and cyber advances.

Many researchers notice this severe theoretical lack (Shanks and Webmoor 2012, Huggett 2015, Dallas 2015, Garstki 2015, Perry and Beale 2015, Richardson and Lindgren 2017, Huvila and Huggett 2018, Perry 2018), that often ends up in techno-fetishism, especially visible in projects where researchers are merely focused on applying the latest methods to collect more and more data. Another potential pitfall is the problem of “aestheticisation” of the knowledge - a process in which the data selection is driven exclusively by the need of creating spectacular, “enchanting” visualisations. Jeremy Huggett argues that: “currently this area is under-theorised, under-represented, and under-valued, yet it is increasingly fundamental to how we arrive at an understanding of the past” (Huggett 2015, 86). His calls for “meaningful dialogue about the intervening digital technologies and their influence on the outputs” (Huggett 2015, 87) are left almost unanswered.

During this session, we would like to answer Huggett’s call and discuss the theoretical fundaments and implications of digital and cyber archaeology. Digital archaeology with big data, data flows, digital-material entanglements, the vitality of digital archaeological artefacts, aestheticised pasts and multidimensional digital infrastructures invites one to reconnect the broad panorama of methods with methodologies and theories. Moreover, the widespread usage of digital and cyber methods calls for a critical examination in terms of the politics of heritage, social impact and global or local values. We want to discuss topics that revolve around, but are not limited to, the following issues: ontology of digital archaeological objects and sites; digital materiality, digital-material entanglements; digital archaeology, timescales, and temporality; thinking through technologies, critical digital epistemologies, digital methods’ role in the archaeological reasoning; digital ethics; digital criticism; digital aestheticisation, an aestheticisation of the past and archaeological knowledge; techno-fetishism, techno-enthusiasm, techno-optimism; digital colonialism, postcolonialism, neocolonialism and the ownership of technologies; politics of data and data management; digital and cyber archaeologies as fast archaeologies; visualisation of negative heritage and traumatic pasts; digital archaeology of conflict; digital archaeology vs slow archaeology; theoretical and methodological sensibility within digital studies; digital studies and global/local needs; engendering digital archaeology; and the role and impact of minorities in the digital scholarship; future of digital archaeologies. We invite proposals that deal with the theoretical, methodological and practice-based problems of digital and cyber archaeology, and discuss their political and social implications.

Session tags: archaeological theory, digital archaeology, digital heritage, cyber-archaeology, critical discourse


Christina Hodge - Stanford University

5 minute lightning talks

Collection is an existential part of archaeology, museology, and heritage, forming a shared concern across practices and poetics. At the same time, the traditional roles and status of collections—and the people and institutions that create them—have changed with advancing technologies, shifting social values, and mutable theoretical frames. Collections are being negotiated and sometimes even contested. Thinking through the lens of “collection”, participants will explore the implications of physical and digital collecting and collections. Participants may consider collection as noun, verb, location, or metaphor to move us beyond the taken-for-granted nature of “collection” in our fields. We wonder (and perhaps you do too): What makes a collection? What consequences result from collecting, both productive and reductive? Or from approaching (tangible or virtual) things as collections? What relations do collections afford? How and why do we depend upon them? Where are the boundaries between object, collection, assemblage, event, or medium? Between collecting and curating? How do collections work as open and closed systems, in circulation and at rest, fixed and in flux? What do they hide or reveal? How does participation in a collection change the vibrancy of matter? Create new entanglements? What affordances do collections offer, and what assumptions do they propagate? Who collects and who is collected? How do collections generate identity and perform representations? How does context change a collection? What do collections do for and in new materialisms and object-oriented ontologies? Do collections need humans? How are physical and virtual materialities negotiated in the creation and dissemination of collections?

How are collections reframed by digital methods? How do collections complicate assumptions of space and time? What responsibilities do we assume when we collect? We invite short, 5-min long papers (lightning talks) and will encourage an open discussion to share and exchange experiences and knowledge. While we are particularly interested in new opportunities given by the digital turn, our session welcomes all papers that consider the nature and functions of collections to present projects, deliberate conundrums, fret over paradoxes, or share revelations of digital and material collections.

Session tags: collections, museums, heritage, digital heritage, materiality

Transnational Archaeology

Barbara Voss - Stanford University

20 minute papers

Archaeology’s place-based research practices are simultaneously its greatest strength and greatest limitation. While landscapes, sites, and features are fixed in space, the communities that create these locales were and are highly mobile. In the modern era (ca. 1500 CE to present), the scale, speed, and magnitude of mobility - both human and non-human - has accelerated dramatically, not only through physical movement but also through modes of communication and fabrication that extend presence and agency across vast distances. New archaeological theories, methodologies, techniques, and community engagements are required to apprehend transnational material practices.

The papers in this session critically explore spatially extensive research practices in archaeology, especially those that transgress national boundaries. What theories and methods allow archaeologists to work locally yet engage transnationally? How are multi-sited methodologies, originally developed in ethnography and related fields, transformed when the temporal depth of archaeology is added to spatial breadth? What taken-for-granted concepts - archaeological site, community, heritage, the past - must be reconfigured when transnational perspectives are placed at the center of archaeological research? What new ethical commitments emerge when archaeological research is situated within transnational frames of reference?

Session tags: transnational, diaspora, spatial analysis

Archaeologies of Sexuality 20 Years Later

Robert Schmidt

Roundtable Discussion

The edited volume Archaeologies of Sexuality, published in the spring of 2000, presented some of the earliest scholarship that took seriously explorations of sexuality as an object of knowledge in archaeological contexts.  In this roundtable discussion, contributors to that volume and others will reflect upon the subsequent trajectory of work stimulated by the explorations offered in the book. Subsequent developments within the discipline with regard to differing aspects of identity and other analytical categories have surely influenced thinking about sexuality in the intervening years. Furthermore, contemporary politics around sexuality, gender and identity have undoubtedly affected archaeological scholarship in various ways.  In this fluid context, round table participants and audience members will be invited to discuss how work from 20 years ago continues to ramify and develop within the field, and articulate new insights and suggested directions for research. 

Session tags: gender, sexuality

Archaeology as if it Matters: the Contemporary, History, and the Ethical

Rosemary Joyce - University of California, Berkeley

20 minute papers

Archaeology confronts a range of ethical issues no matter what the circumstances, ranging from the engagement of local or descendant peoples in formulating and carrying out research, anticipating the way that research may be used in nationalist discourses or, for economic development. Once treated as if they arose only in certain archaeologies, ethical concerns clearly exist in all archaeologies.

This session begins with this premise and invites contributors who engage with the concepts of "history" and "the contemporary" in particular to reflect on the ways that their practice requires or benefits from engagement with an explicit concern with ethics. Among questions participants should be prepared to address are "who is affected by this work?" and "how has realizing this work can affect others changed the goals or practice?"

The session invites a broad understanding of what constitutes history (including rejecting any history/prehistory distinction), a critical stance on the concept of "contemporary", and a broad understanding of archaeology that does not limit it to traditional excavation-based research. Contributors will be asked to present brief summaries of their research and how it response to the key questions above, followed by dialogue among contributors and others participating by attending.

Session tags: ethics, history, politics

The Archaeology of Migration and Mobility: New Theories and Practices in the 21st century 

Sara Ann Knutson - University of California, Berkeley

20 minute papers

Studies on human mobilities and migrations in the archaeological record have long been a part of archaeological practice. But as the discipline of Archaeology continues to become more globally-minded, archaeologists are challenged to develop innovative methods and theoretical approaches that are more adapted and attuned to the challenges and possibilities of exploring the humans and materials involved in the macro-scale processes of globalization, expanded connectivities, and movements across transnational spaces. 

This session seeks to open discussion on some theoretical and practical approaches in Archaeology that are useful for thinking through migration-based issues in the distant and recent past including but not limited to cross-cultural contact, long-distance trade exchange and communication, motivations for (forced or voluntary) relocation and settlement, social networks, and the formation of cross-cultural and/or diasporic identities. Contributions to the session may wish to discuss the possibilities that Big Data might offer archaeologists for detecting and theorizing mobilities in new, informative ways and the potential challenges and limitations of, as well as possible alternatives to, Big Data perspectives. The goal is to inspire further collaboration between archaeologists across a range of regional, temporal, and methodological specializations and to generate further academic discussion on the exciting new possibilities for archaeological research on mobility in the 21st century and more broadly, its relevance for anthropological insight into human movement around the globe. 

Session tags: migration, mobility, global

Advances in Postcolonial Archaeology

Amanda Gaggioli - Stanford University

Matt Previto - Stanford University

20 minute papers

This session focuses on how European colonialism and imperialism has had a significant impact on the epistemologies and ontologies of archaeology and the academy as a whole. This has affected how and what we study and who studies it, which continues to perpetuate colonialist ideals. As Dietler has pointed out, “Perhaps the most intriguing and consequential case of “invented traditions” in European history involved a sweeping “colonization” of modern consciousness by the ancient Greco-Roman world” (2010: 27). In recent times, archaeologists have made contributions that have deconstructed colonial discourses of knowledge production intertwined in archaeological theory. These disciplinary critiques have revealed inequalities inherent in the discipline, destabilizing what we would consider as knowledge about the cultural past, as Atalay has suggested. This session seeks to further that discussion by encouraging intersectional dialogue between archaeologists from all contexts; anthropological, classical, prehistoric, and historic, and centers on postcolonial, subaltern, and transnational feminist/queer theory. This session seeks papers, which not only review the history of archaeology complicit in European colonialism, but also identify colonial discourses inherent in archaeological practice. Topics may include orientalism, nationalism, subalterity, hybridity, Otherness, power, decolonialization, or other postcolonial themes. Moreover, these papers should propose recommendations and arguments for change and further developments in a postcolonial archaeology.

Session tags: postcolonialism, decolonization, subaltern

Archaeologies Within, Across, & Between Generations 

Andrew Roddick - McMaster University

Shannon Novak - Syracuse University

20 minute papers

Social scientists have long grappled with the issue of generations. In the early 20th century, sociologist Karl Mannheim introduced "fresh contact" and the "non-contemporaneity of the contemporaneous", ideas that resonate with current explorations of temporality. Scholars of material culture considered the role of generations in social transmission and style. For instance, the Art Historian Erwin Panofsky explored Gothic architecture as the shared ways of particular generations, and George Kubler (1962) discussed the generational succession of apprentices within workshops. More recently we have seen renewed attention in popular culture (millennials and the burnout generation, "ok boomer", etc.), but also in the broader anthropological literature, where generations are a way to address the homogenizing effects of grand narratives (Roddick and Hastorf 2010), and provide greater nuance to big data. Many engage generations using relational terms, within broader ecologies of interaction. For instance, scholars are seeking evidence of generations in terms of human: environmental interaction and multispecies encounters in both ethnographic and archival settings. Bioarchaeologists have long considered the role of birth cohorts, yet recent efforts have worked to "destabilize" approaches to simple biological facts (see Novak 2017). Rather, the biocultural complexities of epigenetics, lifecourse, and postmortem processes are imbricated in the makings of generations, their recognition, and analytical divides. Archaeologists have considered the relationship between newcomers and old-timers within contexts of situated learning, but also the role of objects to sustain particular material practices across human generations (Gosden 2006). 

In this session we explore the ways generations influence the pasts we study, the entanglements of various bodies, objects, and landscapes. We also consider how attention to demographic bundles can produce sometimes radically new kinds of narratives. We encourage contributors to explore "genealogies of practice" and the relationship between particular lived presents and their contribution to historical processes (Harding 2005; Pauketat and Alt 2005). We invite participants to consider how landscapes are constituted by multiple generations of the living and dead (and the tension between them). Contributors might consider power and succession in the context of big histories (Graeber and Sahlins 2017), as well as the myths and magic involved in managing generations based on asymmetries in knowledge.

Session tags: temporality, succession, cohorts, generations

Materials as Collaborators in the Production of Objects

Anastasia Amrhein - University of Pennsylvania

15 minute papers

In recent years, following the emergence of the meta-field of New Materialism, some scholars (such as Nicole Boivin and Bjørnar Olsen, for example) have argued that objects, and thus materials, are agentive in their own right—that is, without the ascription of agency by humans. The philosophical endpoint of such considerations seems to be a decentralized understanding of agency (as proposed, for example, by Tim Ingold and Lambros Malafouris)—as something that emerges in the interaction of entities, rather than a property inherent to humans or non-humans. 

However, conceiving of agency as a dense network or meshwork of relations without clear boundaries between entities, ultimately avoids answering difficult questions and exploring further the non-human components of the material world. After all, in practice, materials are experienced as discrete and other from our own bodies. Moreover, few studies have sought to recover how the agency of materials might have actually operated and been experienced in various contexts.

Thus, this session seeks to explore questions such as: How do we recover material agencies from the archaeological record? How can we distinguish between human and material agencies involved in object production processes?  How and what do materials contribute to the formation of objects (and the archaeological record more broadly)? More fundamentally, is the aim of archaeology to recover solely aspects of the social and anthropomorphic, or is it possible and useful to pursue non-anthropomorphic points of view and histories as well?

This session especially invites contributions from scholars working at the intersection of archaeology and anthropology, art history, or art practice, integrating theoretical and practical considerations.

Session tags: Agency, Materiality, New Materialism

Attuning to Archaeologies of Affect and Atmosphere

Zachary Nissen - Northwestern University

20 minute papers

In this session, presenters are asked to attune themselves to the collective affects that loom in the archaeological record (Harris and Sørensen 2010; Sørensen 2015). All material bodies (human and non-human) contain a capacity to affect and be affected by other bodies (Spinoza 1992). Affects are forces that push and pull bodies in specific directions (Ahmed 2010). They are ordinary forces that loom as always present potentialities which orient and order relationships between peoples, places, and things in moments of resonance and intensity (Berlant and Stewart 2019; Stewart 2007). These intensities collect to form atmospheres that ‘envelop’ and ‘press upon’ daily life (Anderson 2009). Rather than seeing atmosphere as a fixed context or an effect of these affective forces, an atmosphere is the lived coming together of this capacity to affect and be affected (Stewart 2011). Participants are encouraged to take a materialist approach to think about the affective interactions between bodies, broadly defined, and the affective atmospheres they operated within. Following affect theorists, participants are asked: In what ways were material bodies made perceptible to other bodies? How were these bodies affectively ordered and oriented in relation to one another? And in what ways did these affective forces tangle and collect? How did these collective affects exert force on the bodies that were enveloped by them? Finally, how were past atmospheres materially grounded in the archaeological record? By attuning ourselves to the material traces of affective atmospheres, participants will aim to move beyond rationalist or purely symbolic interpretations of the past to consider more fully the forces that impacted social life. 

Session tags: affect, atmosphere, materialisms

Pushing Boundaries and Using "the F Word": Examining Frontier Theory and Borderlands in Archaeology

Megan Victor - Stanford University

20 minute papers

For the past forty years, research on frontiers describe these spaces as zones of meeting, interaction, dynamism, and change. Further, the geographic, ecological, economic, and political processes that are inherent within these locales shape them, rendering them far from static (Thompson & Lamar 1981; Jordan-Bychkov 1993; Cayton & Teute 1998; Parker & Rodseth 2005; Sluyter 2012). Frontier spaces are often fiercely contested locations where competing groups of inhabitants struggle violently to each concretize their worldviews, such as the determination of what objects – critical for archaeologists – and actions have political, economic, or social value and meaning. Frontier and borderland zones represent crucial locations in understanding socio-economic exchange networks and can also shed light on conceptions of value local to these spaces. Frontier zones bear witness to struggles brought about by human interactions and choices that are military, economic, and conceptual. When different groups of people interact in frontier zones, they bring their cosmologies, perceptions of landscape, ideas about social organization, and systems of economics with them; conflict erupts when there is discord between two or more groups' perceptions of the social and physical space in which they are both interacting. 

Contemporary scholars of frontier theory have sought to fight the image of frontier spaces as locations needing civilization and to combat the perception that those studying such dynamic borderland spaces still approach them through an imperialist viewpoint. The papers in this session boldly wield the F word “frontier” to explore archaeological research in these dynamic spaces of cultural collision and collusion. After all, archaeology publications and presentations have discussed ‘new frontiers’ of research – including big data – without controversy. Is a nuanced, reflexive approach to the study of frontier zones and borderlands the next frontier of in archaeological theory? If so, how can scholars of frontier theory best acknowledge the controversial progress-based narratives of early scholarship in the field so as to combat the negative stereotypes associated with borderland research? Similarly, what work must be done to disentangle the frontier from the dime-store romance associated with it? Finally, does frontier archaeology require a greater degree of community and stakeholder engagement and can this be done regardless of the time period to which sites date?

Session tags: frontier theory, borderlands, dynamism

Slow Data: Using Big Data to Do Slow Archaeology

Matthew Greer - Syracuse University

Lindsey Cochran - University of Georgia

20 minute papers

In recent years, archaeologists have increasingly integrated the paradigms of slow archaeology into our research designs and our engagements with the public. Slow archaeology traditionally rejects studies rooted in big data, where the acquisition and analysis of information has become an end goal in and of itself. To paraphrase Cunningham and MacEachern (2016), this type of work “alienates” our research from the societies we aim to serve because of myopic foci on transforming materialities into fodder for statistical algorithms that tells us nothing about people’s lives in the past or present.

This move rejecting big data, however, has created an almost reflexive backlash against the use of large datasets. Yet many case-studies of conscious and ethical implementations of big data into slow science and slow archaeology have proliferated in recent years. Our session explores the future uses of big data in slow archaeology by asking (some of) the following questions. What is big data and is it inherently problematic? What types of archaeologies might emerge from connecting big data with slow science’s ontological and ethical commitments, and what ethical commitments come from using these datasets? Are there times when big data let us connect more with diverse communities? Does using large datasets created through the competitive, grant-driven funding cycles that slow science critiques keep us from dismantling fast science’s dominance in archaeology, or do projects using big data create spaces wherein we may see slow and fast science/scholarship/archaeology not as oppositional but as emerging in and through each other? 

Session tags: slow archaeology, big data, ethical archaeology

Oral History as Big Data: Exploring the Analytical Potential of Narratives in Archaeology

Linday Montgomery - University of Arizona

5 minute lighting talks

In the eighteenth century, the famed British writer Samuel Johnson commented that “all history was at first oral” (Thompson 1996: 352). In the United States alone, there exists a vast number of oral history archives that digitally house thousands of personal and historical narratives related to a diversity of subjects, including Native American myths, immigrant stories, World War II combatant accounts, and more contemporary reflections on human and civil rights movements. Over the past thirty years, a growing number of archaeologists have turned to this archive as a potential data source for identifying sites, understanding human behavior, and interpreting historical events. Much of the conversation around oral histories within the discipline has revolved around the potential temporal depth and veracity of stories concerning climatic events, migration, origins, and historical figures. This session seeks to shift the conversation away from discussions of “Truth” and towards a deeper understanding of the utility of oral histories as a source for developing large-scale histories and theoretical frameworks. Using five-minute long (lightening talks) participants in this session will address a variety of questions around oral archives including at what scale oral history may be employed, the particular role of narrative in archaeological research, how the digital turn has altered the potential preservation and use of oral histories, the different analytical methods that can be applied to narrative data, and the political, legal, and ethical implications of using oral histories in archaeology. Through the exchange of experiences, discussions of challenges, and conversations around methodological and theoretical applications, this session will explore the potential and pitfalls of using oral histories as ‘big data’.

Session tags: big history, personal narrative, archival research, oral history

Archaeological Approaches to the Present and Future Environment

Emma Gilheany - University of Chicago

Jamie Countryman - University of Chicago

20 minute papers and artistic interventions 

As a discipline conventionally oriented towards the study of the past, what knowledge can archaeology provide about the present and future of life on Earth? We practice archaeology in an era of great collective anxiety about the unprecedented (and perhaps unforeseeable) changes that human actions are effecting on Earth’s environments--changes which will unfold over centuries and millennia to come. Archaeology sits at a nexus of natural science, humanistic science, and critical theory, and possesses a unique temporal gaze. Our field has developed rich datasets and an array of analytical techniques for apprehending human-environment relationships and environmental change over the longue durée. Why and how can archaeological perspectives matter for present environmental concerns? What can archaeology tell us about environmental futures?

In this session, we invite archaeologists to consider the possibilities of radical environmental engagement. How can archaeology more meaningfully intervene in scholarly conversations, policy, politics, and/or direct action around (e.g.) climate change, environmental crisis, disaster, population displacements, resource scarcity, biodiversity, extinction...? How do the distinctive material interventions and forms of knowledge produced through archaeological fieldwork contribute to the “arts of living on a damaged planet” (Tsing et al 2017)? This session is aimed not just at archaeologists of the contemporary, but any archaeologists engaged with questions of the stakes of archaeological research on environment. We invite paper submissions that engage with more traditional notions of environmental archaeology—e.g. seasonality, landscapes, soils, human-animal relationships, plant-human studies--and encourage speakers to push the boundaries of these topics, to consider how archaeology can or should address the future of the planet. We welcome conventional paper formats as well as creative and/or experimental engagements with this topic.

Session tags: environment, archaeology of the contemporary, futures, anthropocene/capitalocene