My “reaction” article in Archaeological Dialogues has just been published.
INAH is hosting a symposium in Cancun next year:
Settlements and the Urban: Architecture and Archaeology in America and Europe
Symposium 16-18th of May 2016
Changes of human settlements over the last decades have been quite dramatic, and there is an expanding bibliography on settlements and the urban, discussing potentials and problems in recent developments. Architects and landscape architects are directly involved in the process, situated at a particular and interesting position, while archaeologists address the problems in long term perspectives, and work the intricacy of time, settlement and society within an historical framework.
The Architecture, Archaeology and Contemporary City Planning network aims at establishing new kinds of dialogues between architects, archaeologists and historians, looking for new ways of addressing issue of settlement planning, as well as a closer cooperation between these disciplines, that allows to generate alternative interpretations for ancient settlements and new ways of facing challenges in contemporary urbanism and its social actors.
America and Europe exhibit certain differences in settlement distribution, in part related to the particularity of the indigenous past in the Americas, and to the outcome of the violent and exploitative colonial encounter, but also related to later developments. Comparing the intricate relation between time and space in the Americas and Europe help elucidate shared problems and highlight differences. We will also like to see a continued discussion, initiated at prior AACCP events, on visualisation and documentation of various kinds, in particular related to the digital revolution and the use of new technologies, both in record and analysis of ancient and modern cities. Involved in this complex theme, questions of aesthetics, deconstruction and “gestalt” are of major importance.
The first AACCP event took place in Florence 2014, and the proceedings can be found at https://www.academia.edu/9956525/Giorgio_Verdiani_Per_Cornell_Editors_-_Architecture_Archaeology_and_Contemporary_City_Planning_-_Proceedings_of_the_Workshop. The second event took place in Valencia and the proceedings are on the way.
Papers addressing contemporary case studies, as well as relevant prehistoric or historic cases are welcome, especially those works that analyse settlement transformations throughout time. We invite interested scholars from various relevant disciplines to a productive and interesting congress, to be realised at the Maya Museum in Cancun, México and organised by the Mexican INAH and the AACCP network. The congress will take place between May 16th and 18th 2016. Abstracts in English or Spanish, with a maximum of 250 words, must be submitted by e-mail before January 15th 2016, including name of the author or co-authors (when applicable), paper title, institution and all contact information. Please note that final oral presentations should not exceed 30 minutes in length.
All submitted abstracts will be evaluated by the committee, and all proposals will be notified before February 15th, when the final program of the symposium will be integrated.
Apart of the formal sessions, there will be complimentary excursion tours, from May 13th to 15th of May. Further information will be issued in the next months.
For more information and submit abstracts, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Symposium Committee:
Dr. Per E. Cornell. Professor, Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden email@example.com
Dr. Giorgio Verdiani. Professor, Dipartimento di Architettura- (DIDA). ICAR/17 – Disegno. Università degli Studi Firenze, Italy firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Pablo Rodríguez Navarro. Professor, Departamento de Expresión Gráfica Arquitectónica. Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain email@example.com
Arql. Adriana Velázquez Morlet. Director, Centro INAH Quintana Roo. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico firstname.lastname@example.org
Ten days ago (on 9/11) Stefan Permanto successfully defended his dissertation thesis in social anthropology at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. Here is the abstract of his thesis entitled The Elders and the Hills: Animism and Cosmological Re-Creation among the Q’eqchi’ Maya in Chisec, Guatemala:
This thesis is based on fieldwork conducted in the municipality of Chisec in the department of Alta Verapaz in Guatemala. Within the context of post-war Maya cultural emergence and the recent introduction of non-indigenous elements this study examines the cosmological notions and ritual practices among a group of elderly Q’eqchi’ men and women. The main motive for this endeavor is the expressed concern of the elders that the younger generations of today are diverting from what the elders consider to be the traditional ways of life that are inherited from their ancestors. The elders fear that if traditional cosmological notions are lost it may eventually wreak havoc in the world. Therefore, these elders have come together not only to narrate and share their vital knowledge amongst themselves but also to transmit it to future generations.
Theoretically, the thesis is inspired by the recent re-definition of the concept of animism within anthropological theory. Stripping the concept of earlier evolutionary notions that debunks it as only irrational understandings of the world, the cosmological notions and ritual practices of the Q’eqchi’ elders are taken at face value and approached as ways of being-in-the-world. While this ‘new’ animism has been deployed in studies among indigenous peoples from Amazonia to South East Asia it has been conspicuously absent in Mesoamerica. By applying the new perspectives on animism to the cosmology of the Q’eqchi’ elders this study contributes not only to the general body of anthropological studies of animism and indigenous societies but expands it to include the Maya region.
Since culture is neither static nor homogeneous the work and ambition of the elders to preserve and transmit their inherited knowledge inevitably gives fuel to a process of rediscovering and re-creating their cosmological roots and ritual practices: a cosmology the elders assert is crucial not only for human and non-human wellbeing but also for a sustainable ecology and cosmic equilibrium.
Today I received the proof for my upcoming “reaction” article in Archaeological Dialogues (Vol 22:2)”Going against the flow: reaction to Veronica Strang.” A few hours earlier Quaternary International accepted my article “Multi-scalar cognitive time: experiential time, known time, and Maya calendars.” The latter article is to be found in a special issue on the “material dimension of cognition.”
Apart from teaching and supervising a couple of theses I am currently wrapping up two projects: one of my own (Water as an archaeological object) and one as a participant (The early modern town). After this I will be able to focus on my project on time (The necromantic ordering of days). I also have an idea of a future project focused on rare events with broad impact that I can relate to my previous research on time (Black Swan events) and water (i.e. tsunamis). Remains of a tsunami deposits have recently been found in Yucatan but this project intends to focus on the phenomena worldwide (Japan, Indonesia, India, Mediterranean, Norway, etc.).
I recently came back from a 17 days trip to Hainan in China (where they celebrated the Chinese New Year). Later this year I will visit Indonesia and Malaysia again. Hopefully I will be able to squeeze in Myanmar as well since Bagan is one of my must see sites. One month from now I will also go to Nordic TAG in Copenhagen. Apart from my session I will join a plenary discussion regarding the next 30 years in theoretical discussion (I better polish my crystal ball)…
I just uploaded a new article on my Academia.edu site. It is an object-oriented gender study of a queen mentioned in the inscriptions of Yo’okop in the Cochuah region. This is not the final version of the article. I will upload the final version once I receive it. There are only minor changes, such as a caption to the figure in the text.
Considering that this is a “dormant” blog it has been quite active the past weeks. Anyway, here is a session proposal for next year’s Nordic TAG in Copenhagen.
April 16th – 18th 2015
Department of Historical Studies
University of Gothenburg
Correlationism describes the position where subject and object cannot be thought of separately, they are always correlated with each other. Speculative Realism (SR) is an umbrella term for various attempts to break with this correlate. So far it is the Object-Oriented Ontologies (OOO) that has had greatest impact outside philosophy. Some of the strengths with OOO are that they take a stand against reductions of objects to processes and networks. Objects are not exhausted by these relations; they are existent in their own right. Time and space are the result of objects and not the opposite. Rather than inserting objects into an anthropocentric narrative, objects are the starting point of a multiscalar view where all processes occur inside objects.
Being a discipline focused on objects archaeology could not just make use of these ideas but also elaborate on them and put them into operational use. Concepts like vicarious causation, alien phenomenology, gravity, bright objects, incorporeal machines, hyperobjects, etc. change the way archaeological objects can be treated and understood. This session invites contributors to discuss how OOO and SR can be useful for archaeological studies focusing on a wide range of topics such as materials, landscape, settlement, social organization, gender, etc.
Please submit abstracts for papers (max. 200 words), including title and names and contact details of authors to Johan Normark (email@example.com) by January 1st 2015.
Abstract proposal for a TAG session in Manchester:
An assemblage is co-constituted with its time and space. In Manuel DeLanda’s perspective, an assemblage emerges from a formless, topological, and symmetrical virtual continuum. Intensive processes break this symmetry and discontinuous actual forms emerge. Because of Graham Harman’s object-oriented critique of process and external relations, Levi Bryant has relocated the virtual within the actual. All processes and relations occur within assemblages, not between them. To Bryant, time is the duration a machinic assemblage needs to produce the parts it consists of. Still, Bryant follows the Bergsonian-Deleuzean tradition where past and present are merged into a creative flow. Future is ignored.
Tristan Garcia suggests an order of intensity of presence. The past is always moving away from presence but there is an order of this past. The past is relatively present and the future has only absence. Future is not ordered but it is a fixed point of reference. To Garcia the present comes first, followed by the past which has less degree of presence. Last comes the future which has maximal absence. As the past of an assemblage grows it becomes richer in determination which for archaeological contexts means that origins are open but later trajectories follows the constraints and entanglements set up by the assemblage itself. Its predicted future becomes increasingly narrower until the assemblage ceases to work. This end is often an unexpected Black Swan event to the assemblage itself whereas archaeologists, in hindsight, insert a narrative behind the demise. One such narrative fallacy is the Maya collapse.
A brief update for those of you who still follows this blog. I have been busy writing articles and books (and still am I must add). Earlier this week I submitted an article for the proceedings of the 18th European Maya Conference in Brussels last year. Here is the prelimary abstract for the article “Colonial period analogies and the mega-drought hypothesis for the Maya collapse”:
Palaeoclimatological models for the Maya area suggest that a series of droughts coincided with the Maya collapse (ca AD 750-1050). In order to find correlates to how these droughts affected Prehispanic communities, researchers have used direct historical analogies from the Colonial and modern periods. These correlations neglect the changes that the Spaniards brought to the area, such as the reducción and the congregación. This text focuses on how “black-boxed” analogies from the Colonial period affect some contemporary interpretations of the earlier Terminal Classic collapse. Colonial period changes in local and regional settlement patterns reveal some inherent assumptions in the generalized and reductionist palaeoclimatic studies.
Another artice will also be published in Current Swedish Archaeology, entitled “Water as a hyperfact” and this is the preliminary abstract:
Most entities studied by archaeologists share the same basic necessary conditions. They are limited spatiotemporal units which are continuous within a human frame of reference. These entities cannot dissolve into their constituent parts without affecting their function, capacity, and morphology. Further, they usually occupy one physical state at a time. The hyperfact, on the other hand, is vastly distributed, it can dissolve into most of its parts without affecting its “essence,” and it can be in several physical states at the same time. Water is a typical hyperfact, existing on multiple scales, from molecules to the hydrological cycle.