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Anthropology News April 2003 DIALOGUE

Arc haeoloaical Anthromoloav U I -I

mental studies or history, disci-


plines whose research pursuits seem
better coordinated with archaeol-
ogy than does contemporary socio-
cultural anthropology. Postmodern
theories are seen as incongruous
with evolutionary and scientific ap-
proaches often employed by archae-
rchaeologists are increas- ologists. Furthermore, archaeologists
ingly questioningthe foun- are no longer willing to be as de-
dations and future of an- pendent on theories filtered through
, thropological archaeology. sociocultural anthropology as was
This is a significant departure from the case in Phillips’ day.
the traditional recourse to Philip Significant practical factors also
Phillips’ 50-year-old mantra, “New foment intradisciplinary divisions:
World archaeology is anthropology the proliferation of specializations,
or it is nothing.” Strident calls are changes within academic institu-
tions, and the explosive growth in
non-academic archaeology. Most
C O M M E N T A R Y professional archaeologists are em-
ployed outside the academy where
now being made for archaeologists their identity as anthropologists is
to depart anthropology and estab- muted and the necessity for train-
lish autonomous academic depart- ing in four-field anthropology is
ments. The enormous changes to debatable. Within academia com-
the discipline this move would petition for faculty lines and gradu-
portend should be of concern to all ate admissions often exacerbates
anthropologists. subdisciplinary factions, and archae-
In response to arguments for ologists are usually outnumbered by
“archaeology is archaeology,” the sociocultural anthropologists.
AAA Archeology Division organ-
ized a symposium entitled “Archae- What Keeps Us Together?
ology Is Anthropology” at the 2000 Instead of treating holism and the
Society for American Archaeology methodological specialization it-
meeting, which will appear later entails as a problem, others see
this year in the Archeological Papers holism as the key to anthropology’s
of the AAA. Contributors represent- identity and future. Anthropology
ing the gamut of archaeological is best equipped to deal with the big
practice and other sub-fields of questions-Where do we come
anthropology weighed the merits from? Where are we going?--and
of intellectual and practical motives to more specifically address com-
for and against an autonomous pelling global issues of racism, war-
archaeology. The authors conclud- Native Americans have called for a reciprocal archaeology that includes more
fare, genocide, environmental de-
ed that both archaeology and information in the study of their past and has more outcomes that address gradation, climate change, popula-
anthropology were better off to- their needs. Reciprocal archaeology offers both a challenge and an opportunity tion growth, poverty, nutrition and
gether than apart, but only if more to make anthropological archaeology more relevant to descendant communi- health, technological change and
serious efforts are made to realize ties. (From T J Ferguson, “Anthropological Archaeology Conducted by Tribes: landscape modification. These are
the potential of a holistic anthro- Traditional Cultural Properties and Cultural Affiliation” in Anthropology Is major problems of the present, but
pology. Archaeology. AP3A #13 2003). they also existed in the past. Our
methodological and interpersonal
What Drives Us Apart? problem and a rationale for disper- phers and archaeologists studying differences are of small import
American anthropology’s holism sal. It is widely believed that New indigenous inhabitants. Archaeol- when we realize the potential for
characterized by its disparate sub- World archaeology is part of an- ogy by definition refers to a set of grappling with critical issues requir-
fields-once hailed as its strength- thropology only as a historical acci- ‘methods and techniques directed ing multi-faceted approaches that
is now considered a fundamental dent-the confluence of ethnogra- to the archaeological record, some- only anthropology can provide.
thing that does not concern an- Theoretical differences are not
thropologists studying contempo- new; they have characterized pro-
Commentary Policy rary peoples. A logical development fessional anthropology since its
AN commentaries are designed to explore diverse views of the discipline from an would be to abandon this obsolete inception both within as well as
anthropological perspective Commentaries reflect the views of the authors. their pub- arrangement and create depart- sut,fields. Many contern-
lication does not signify endorsement by AN or the AAA Authors are expected to ver-
ments uniting archaeologists from porary research topics do crosscut
ify all factual information included in the text Manuxnpts should be less than 1,OOO
words in length and must be submitted both electronically and in double-spaced hard
the discipline, including materiali-
rnnu An alternative is to join colleagues ty, the body, landscape, ethnicity,
--rJ.
in earth sciences, biology, environ- ecology, colonialism, demography,

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DIALOGUE April 2003 Anthropology News

health and gender. Archaeologists The increased practice of archaeolo- and where anthropologists can anthropology with a nar-
engaged in questions concerning gy by inQenous peoples worldwide speak to the public about how to rowed focus-separating
long-term processes, crosscultural may contribute to a greater integra- think about culture and society, into groups that inde-
comparisons, and the intersection of tion of archaeology and anthropolo- and their continuities and disjunc- pendently pursue one
social and material domains con- gy. As for conflictual departmental tions. Archaeology is also central to kind of expianation, one kind of
tribute to anthropological theory power politics, these should not the discipline of anthropology. It is methodology, or one kind of re-
whether or not they share theoretical drive the development of the field not only essential to the compara- . search question-is a solution that
perspectives with sociocultural an- and are insufficient justification to tive and historical perspectives that advances neither archaeology nor
thropologists, and nothing prevents warrant re-organization of an entire help define anthropology’s distinc- the rest of anthropology.
archaeologists from using approach- discipline. tiveness, it is the only avenue for
es drawn from other fields to frame Archaeology as Anthropology/ understanding the great diversity of Susan D Gilkspie is asscx-iateprofimx of
anthropological research questions. Anthropology as Archaeology human cultural expressions, long- anthropology at the U of Florida. She re-
Far from creating divisions, teach- ”Archaeology is anthropology” has term processes on a global scale and ceived the Gordon R Willry Award for
ing in a multi-field anthropology de- projections for our collective future. “RethinkingAncient Maya Sorial Organi-
long seemed to relegate archaeolo-
partment provides another arena Those who argue for autonomy zation” (AA 2000)’ and withRosemary
gy to a position derivative of socio- Ioyce edited Beyond Kinship: Social and
where the subfields have more in cultural anthropology. However, it advocate institutional change. Most
Material Reproduction in House So-
common with one another than is can also mean that anthropology is do not favor steering archaeology cieties (2000). Deborah L Nichols is the
often presumed. Sociocultural an- as completely exemplified by away from traditional research foci William ]Bryant Professor of anthropology
thropology has experienced a signif- archaeology as by any other sub- grounded within anthropology; in- at Lkrtmouth C. Her recent article with
icant expansion in its applied di- field. Archaeological anthropology deed, some reason that autonomy EIizabetli Bmtiel, Hector N@ Thomas H
mension, just like archaeology. And is concerned with history and the is necessary because anthropology Charlton,Michael D Glascock and Mary
the tremendous value of anthro- material world, the realization of has moved away from its founding Hodge, “Neutronr, Markets, Cities, and
pology to non-academic archaeol- identities at multiple scales and the principles. It is unlikely they intend Empires” appears in the Joumal of An-
ogy is more often than not extolled to abandon the anthropological thropological Archaeology (2002).
possibilities for integrating academ-
Rosemary A Joyce,Profissor of anthropol-
by its practitioners. Both academic ic study and applications to policy aspects of research and practice, but ogy at the U of California, Berkeley, ic the
and applied archaeologists work and practice. It is a model for other if they succeed, future generations author of The Languages of Archaeology:
within diverse communities and branches of anthropology-a site of archaeologists may not be so for- Dialogue, Narrative, and Writing (2002)
must respond to the concerns of where specific disciplinary con- tunate. Resolving the discord that and Gender and Power in Prehispanic
multiple stakeholders of the past. cerns become visible to the public stems from the inherent vastness of Mesoamerica (2001).

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