segunda-feira, 29 de junho de 2009

Theorethical Archaeology Group Conference - Durham, December 2009 - our contribution


TAG 2009: 17th-19th December

Archaeologists as contemporary critical thinkers

Organised by: Vitor O. Jorge (University of Porto,


 Right from the beginning of archaeology as a “science” during the 19th century, archaeologists, like any other social scientists at the time, tried to elaborate a “theory” of “man” and of “society”. Implicitly or explicitly, this “theory” was, and still is, meshed with “practice”. Theory and practice are combined in fieldwork, in the production archaeological texts (reports included) and the presentation of “results” to the general public. This session aims to think critically about archaeology in the modern world, paying particular attention to those debates and enquires that have preoccupied modern thinkers in the last decades. What are the contributions that archaeology has made to modern dialogue in the social sciences? If we want that the production and diffusion of our work have some effect beyond the purely academic world, how do we integrate it into a modern politics of knowledge? That is the challenge of this session, calling for papers that are situated in the interface of archaeology and a politics of knowledge, i.e., of a critical thinking and action.


Archaeology and Poetry: Questions of translation

Organised by: Vitor O. Jorge (University of Porto, 
and Daniela Kato (Tokyo Institute of Technology,


 Despite their different nature both archaeology (a social science) and poetry (an artistic expression) aim to productively translate one reality into another. Archaeologists translate remains or traces into a historical narrative re-presenting the “past” in the present. This has to do with collective memory and with a general ethos of modernity by which meaning is assigned and integrated into a total system of order. For their part poets translate feelings, thoughts and inner experiences into texts and/or performances that can re-present them at a general, public level of aesthetic enjoyment. Both archaeology and poetic activity select the elements that are incorporated into their discourse. Some elements are lost in translation, some others are re-presented or implied in a play of truth and simulation. In a world of global communication and of continuous translation, how do we preserve, recover and represent the specificity, and the local, contextual, personal meaning of a given reality? Can archaeology and poetry cross-fertilise in their different attempts at establishing a precarious “equilibrium” between identity and deferral, the local and the global, and truth and error? Can we consider these dialectics as the “motor” of an endless effort to make sense of something – and to attract the critical attention of others – in our planetary community?

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