Posted by: Johan Normark | October 21, 2014

Nordic TAG session: Archaeology outside the correlationist circle

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.

Nordic TAG


April 16th – 18th 2015


Johan Normark

Department of Historical Studies

University of Gothenburg


Archaeology outside the correlationist circle

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 ( by January 1st 2015.


  1. I sorry, but your short definition of correlationalism is quite ridiculous. Unless you’re using shorthand just for those who already know what C is. Because to say that C is is where the subject and object cannot be thoughtof separately makes no sense. In correlationalism. Subject and object are always depended upon, and thought of as equalized components of a true reality available through a directional ontology, knowing subject ->neutral object . Object oriented ontology reverses this maxim. Correlationalism Is an Object oriented ontology. Not part of Object Oriented Ontology, but is itself and Object oriented ontology. Only from the vector that is not Object oriented can an ontology oriented upon objects be viewed .

  2. I did not provide an exact definition of correlationism, simply the consequences of correlationism. Maybe I should have defined it to avoid confusion. There is still time to change the text. Here is Meillassoux’s own definition:”the idea according to which we only ever have access to the correlation between thinking and being, and never to either term considered apart from the other.” What I emphasize in my text above is the latter part of that definition and I do mention the correlate as a unit in the following sentence. If I may quote the Wikipedia entry on Meillassoux, it says that correlationism is “the often unstated theory that humans cannot exist without the world nor the world without humans.” This is pretty much what I wrote above…

    One of the reasons I stopped blogging regularly almost a year ago was that I got tired of people’s bad manners online. Thanks for reminding me of the online trench warfare.


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