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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A salient feature of contemporary contexts of practice is that disciplinary archaeology no longer holds a monopoly on driving intellectual agendas and on the formation of theory. New and challenging forms of theorization are emerging among social movements mobilized around archaeological/sacred sites, material cultures, and human remains. At the same time, disciplinary archaeology has increasingly moved in the direction of cultural resource management, an instrumentalized form of practice framed by a set of largely unquestioned protocols and procedures. This chapter poses a series of questions around the meanings and implications of doing archaeology in and on the contemporary world, so that its point of focus becomes the discipline itself. In what ways do local, subaltern, and fugitive knowledges and regimes of care cause us to rethink and reimagine key disciplinary ideas and practices? In what ways do they challenge us to think about the forms of epistemic violence that lie at the heart of disciplinary regimes of care in archaeology? How, in a spirit of humility, openness, and listening, do we begin a conversation about the things that each of us know? And what sort of archaeology might be the result? The chapter considers these questions from the perspective of the global south, and a set of subaltern struggles framed as a challenge to disciplinary thinking and a discourse on heritage. It aims to explore particular forms of disciplinary entrapments, and the subaltern epistemologies which offer fresh openings and ways out of a certain kind of uncreative assertion of discipline.

Keywords: archaeology, postcolonialism, apartheid, memory, subaltern epistemologies

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