Source: Wac list
Anthropology graduate students at Binghamton University (SUNY) are organizing a RATS (Radical Archaeological Theory Symposium) conference, October 16-17, 2009. The theme will be "anarchism and archaeology."
The label “radical archaeologist” carries both theoretical and practical implications. As people who wear the label proudly, we share a commitment to engage with ideas that are often considered anti-establishment, marginal, or confrontational. Moreover, we embrace a political commitment to act against entrenched systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism and discrimination; and on a larger scale all forms of colonialism and imperialism.
The greatest threat to a radical position is a slow mainstreaming into respectability -- when a “grand theory” becomes institutionalized, when debates are reduced to questions of doctrine, when radical practice is bravely (re)presented in discourse but does not extend beyond the classroom or lab door.
This RATS conference challenges archaeologists to engage with ideas drawn from the political philosophy of anarchism: the belief that hierarchies of any kind are inevitably corrupting, oppressive and dehumanizing; and a paired commitment to act against hierarchies and coercive practices at all times.
We believe that any discussion of theory is aimless without a paired focus on practice/praxis. Anarchism can easily be viewed as a principle of practice only. One goal of this conference is to examine the extent to which anarchist practice can, is, or should be grounded in theory. How can we rethink the dialectic, but all too often missing, link between anarchist theory within academia and anarchist practice outside of academia?
Few archaeologists self-identify as anarchists, yet we are perhaps uniquely suited to investigate and expose the situated, historical trajectories of hierarchy, domination and resistance. Moreover, as practitioners in the classroom, lab, field and society, we can set our imagination free and live out our ideas. We wish to explore the implications of anarchism for archaeological theory and practice.
We challenge participants to consider:
1. Does anarchism have a body of theory that can be applicable to archaeological theory?
2. Can or should archaeology contribute to anarchist theory(?) and practice?
3. How would an anarchist archaeology be theorized and practiced?
4. What roadblocks (institutional, pedagogical, practical and otherwise) to anarchist archaeological theory and/or practice must be opposed, and how?
5. How can anarchist archaeological theory and methods be developed?
We invite papers on these and related topics for presentation and discussion. We envision a lively, participatory environment, with an agenda largely directed by the wants and needs of the group. Breakout session space will be made available. In addition to the papers and discussions, possibilities include but are not limited to video reports/digests, web presentations, poster/art creation and display, developing an agenda for an anarchist archaeology, etc. The goal is to open spaces for new forms of discussion and presentation. To that end, we welcome papers and participation from people in related fields, such as:
and anyone else who wishes to attend.
Direct all submissions and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org