Translated into English from the French.
Archaeology has been an important source of metaphors for some of the key intellectuals of the 20th century: Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Alois Riegl and Michel Foucault, amongst many others. However, this power has also turned against archaeology, because the discipline has been dealt with perfunctorily as a mere provider of metaphors that other intellectuals have exploited. Scholars from different fields continue to explore areas in which archaeologists have been working for over two centuries, with little or no reference to the discipline. It seems that excavation, stratigraphy or ruins only become important at a trans-disciplinary level when people from outside archaeology pay attention to them and somehow dematerialize them. Meanwhile, archaeologists have been usually more interested in borrowing theories from other fields, rather than in developing the theoretical potential of the same concepts that other thinkers find so useful. The time is ripe for archaeologists to address a wider audience and engage in theoretical debates from a position of equality, not of subalternity. Reclaiming Archaeology explores how archaeology can be useful to rethink modernity’s big issues, and more specifically late modernity (broadly understood as the 20th and 21st centuries). The book contains a series of original essays, not necessarily following the conventional academic rules of archaeological writing or thinking, allowing rhetoric to have its place in disclosing the archaeological. In each of the four sections that constitute this book (method, time, heritage and materiality), the contributors deal with different archaeological tropes, such as excavation, surface/depth, genealogy, ruins, fragments, repressed memories and traces. They criticize their modernist implications and rework them in creative ways, in order to show the power of archaeology not just to understand the past, but also the present. Reclaiming Archaeology includes essays from a diverse array of archaeologists who have dealt in one way or another with modernity, including scholars from non-Anglophone countries who have approached the issue in original ways during recent years, as well as contributors from other fields who engage in a creative dialogue with archaeology and the work of archaeologists.
Since the nineteenth century, mass-production, consumerism and cycles of material replacement have accelerated; increasingly larger amounts of things are increasingly victimized rapidly and made redundant. At the same time, processes of destruction have immensely intensified, although largely overlooked when compared to the research and social significance devoted to consumption and production. The outcome is a ruin landscape of derelict factories, closed shopping malls, overgrown bunkers and redundant mining towns; a ghostly world of decaying modern debris normally omitted from academic concerns and conventional histories. The archaeology of the recent or contemporary past has grown fast during the last decade. This development has been concurrent with a broader popular, artistic and scholarly interest in modern ruins in general. Ruin Memories explores how the ruins of modernity are conceived and assigned cultural value in contemporary academic and public discourses, reassesses the cultural and historical value of modern ruins and suggests possible means for reaffirming their cultural and historic significance. Crucial for this reassessment is a concern with decay and ruination, and with the role things play in expressing the neglected, unsuccessful and ineffable. Abandonment and ruination is usually understood negatively through the tropes of loss and deprivation; things are degraded and humiliated while the information, knowledge and memory embedded in them become lost along the way. Without even ignoring its many negative and traumatizing aspects, a main question addressed in this book is whether ruination also can be seen as an act of disclosure. If ruination disturbs the routinized and ready-to-hand, to what extent can it also be seen as a recovery of memory as exposing meanings and presences that perhaps are only possible to grasp at second hand when no longer immersed in their withdrawn and useful reality? Anybody interested in the archaeology of the contemporary past will find Ruin Memories an essential guide to the very latest theoretical research in this emerging field of archaeological thought.
It has been clear for many years that the ways in which archaeology is practised have been a direct product of a particular set of social, cultural, and historical circumstances - archaeology is always carried out in the present. More recently, however, many have begun to consider how archaeological techniques might be used to reflect more directly on the contemporary world itself: how we might undertake archaeologies of, as well as in the present. This Handbook is the first comprehensive survey of an exciting and rapidly expanding sub-field and provides an authoritative overview of the newly emerging focus on the archaeology of the present and recent past. In addition to detailed archaeological case studies, it includes essays by scholars working on the relationships of different disciplines to the archaeology of the contemporary world, including anthropology, psychology, philosophy, historical geography, science and technology studies, communications and media, ethnoarchaeology, forensic archaeology, sociology, film, performance, and contemporary art. This volume seeks to explore the boundaries of an emerging sub-discipline, to develop a tool-kit of concepts and methods which are applicable to this new field, and to suggest important future trajectories for research. It makes a significant intervention by drawing together scholars working on a broad range of themes, approaches, methods, and case studies from diverse contexts in different parts of the world, which have not previously been considered collectively.
Space and Time in Mediterranean Prehistory addresses these two concepts as interrelated, rather than as separate categories, and as a means for understanding past social relations at different scales. The need for this volume was realised through four main observations: the ever growing interest in space and spatiality across the social sciences; the comparative theoretical and methodological neglect of time and temporality; the lack in the existing literature of an explicit and balanced focus on both space and time; and the large amount of new information coming from prehistoric Mediterranean. It focuses on the active and interactive role of space and time in the production of any social environment, drawing equally on contemporary theory and on case-studies from Mediterranean prehistory. Space and Time in Mediterranean Prehistory seeks to break down the space-time continuum, often assumed rather than inferred, into space-time units and to uncover the varying and variable interrelations of space and time in prehistoric societies across the Mediterranean. The volume is a response to the dissatisfaction with traditional views of space and time in prehistory and revisits these concepts to develop a timely integrative conceptual and analytical framework for the study of space and time in archaeology.
The studies in this impressive volume of over 700 pages are presented in memory of Douglas L. Esse, an archaeologist and assistant professor at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago until his untimely death at the age of forty-two on October 13, 1992. The majority of the thirty-four chapters in this volume are concerned with the study of the Early Bronze Age, and some chapters deal with periods and issues that pre-date and post-date the Early Bronze Age, as all of the forty-six authors selected to contribute to this volume were either colleagues or students of Esse and some were not primarily Early Bronze Age specialists. Chapter One includes three "Tributes" to Esse by L. E. Stager, A. Ben-Tor, and D. Saltz that assess the impact of Esse's scholarship, excellence in fieldwork, and the friendship he showed to all of those with whom he worked. Many of the chapters are concerned with ceramic studies from various historical periods, while other chapters deal with burial customs, cult, chronology, social organization, cylinder seal impressions, faunal studies, metrology, architecture, radiocarbon determinations, and maritime trade. The Israelite sites that figure prominently in these studies include Tel Maahaz, Tel Dor, Megiddo, Arad, Ai, Tel Yaqush, Nahal Tillah, Beit Yerah, Illin Tahtit, and Ashkelon. The geographical areas that are investigated include the Soreq Basin, the Akko Plain, the Jezreel Valley, the Dead Sea Plain, and the Carmel Coast and Ramat Menashe regions in Israel and Jordan; external studies are concerned with material from Egypt, the site of Alishar Hoyuek in Turkey, Tell el-Umeiri in Jordan as well as with pottery connections in Arabia. One chapter is concerned with the latest historical periods, which discusses the Persian and Muslim conquests in Palestinian archaeology.
Krone der Schöpfung? Vor 100 000 Jahren war der Homo sapiens noch ein unbedeutendes Tier, das unauffällig in einem abgelegenen Winkel des afrikanischen Kontinents lebte. Unsere Vorfahren teilten sich den Planeten mit mindestens fünf weiteren menschlichen Spezies, und die Rolle, die sie im Ökosystem spielten, war nicht größer als die von Gorillas, Libellen oder Quallen. Vor 70 000 Jahren dann vollzog sich ein mysteriöser und rascher Wandel mit dem Homo sapiens, und es war vor allem die Beschaffenheit seines Gehirns, die ihn zum Herren des Planeten und zum Schrecken des Ökosystems werden ließ. Bis heute hat sich diese Vorherrschaft stetig zugespitzt: Der Mensch hat die Fähigkeit zu schöpferischem und zu zerstörerischem Handeln wie kein anderes Lebewesen. Anschaulich, unterhaltsam und stellenweise hochkomisch zeichnet Yuval Harari die Geschichte des Menschen nach und zeigt alle großen, aber auch alle ambivalenten Momente unserer Menschwerdung.
Die Propagandaformel vom »Krieg gegen den Terror« ist seit geraumer Zeit nicht mehr in aller Munde, wirkt jedoch untergründig fort. Aber haben wir überhaupt jemals richtig begriffen, was damit gemeint ist, und vor allem, wie subtil und mit welchen Mitteln dieser Krieg geführt wurde und wird? In seinem neuen Buch erkundet der renommierte Bildtheoretiker W. J. T. Mitchell die Sprach- und Bildpolitiken im Jahrzehnt nach 9/11 und stößt auf eine so heikle wie mächtige Konstellation aus Metaphern und Bildern, die ihre eigene furchteinflößende Realität erschafft und enorme gesellschaftliche und politische Auswirkungen hat. Letztere werden noch verstärkt durch einen anderen Begriff, der praktisch zeitgleich die Bühne des öffentlichen Diskurses betrat: das Klonen. Das Klonen und der Terror, so eine zentrale These Mitchells, weisen beunruhigende strukturelle Ähnlichkeiten auf und verschmelzen zu einem Dispositiv aus Realem und Imaginärem, Fakten und Metaphern, Überzeugungen und religiösem Glauben – zu einer gefährlichen Allianz aus Biotechnologie, Biopolitik und realer Politik, die sich in Bildern reproduziert und ins kollektive Gedächtnis eingräbt. Mitchells Buch ist ein Meisterwerk politischer Ästhetik und zugleich eine düstere Bilanz der Bush-Ära: »Der Kapuzenmann von Abu Ghraib, des Terrors verdächtig, Opfer der Folter, ein anonymer Klon, gesichtsloser Menschensohn, wird auf absehbare Zeit die Ikone unserer Zeit bleiben.«
Vor zwanzig Jahren hatte der französische Soziologe und Philosoph Bruno Latour konstatiert: »Wir sind nie modern gewesen«, und sich an einer »symmetrischen Anthropologie« jenseits der Trennung von Natur und Kultur versucht. Nun legt er sein zweites Hauptwerk vor, das dieses faszinierende Projekt mit einer »Anthropologie der Modernen« fortschreibt und den verschiedenen Existenzweisen von Wissenschaft, Technologie, Recht, Religion, Wirtschaft und Politik in der modernen Welt nachspürt. Ein großes Panorama der Modi moderner Existenz. Latour setzt für dieses Projekt bei der globalen Verflechtung aller Lebensbereiche an, die heute nicht zuletzt am Problem des Klimawandels sichtbar wird. Zugleich zeigt sich aber an diesem Problem auch, dass es verschiedene Handlungssphären gibt, die jeweils eigene Existenzweisen besitzen: Politiker, die sich mit dem Klimaproblem befassen, sind eben keine Wissenschaftler, die Klimaforschung betreiben, und Unternehmer orientieren sich zunächst an den Maßgaben der Wirtschaftlichkeit; wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse werden daher nicht einfach in politische und ökonomische Handlungen übersetzt. Dennoch sind für Latour diese verschiedenen Existenzmodi nicht unabhängig voneinander, sondern durchdringen einander und kreieren gemeinsam Probleme, die es in der Folge auch gemeinsam zu lösen gilt. Es bedarf daher einer neuen Form der »Diplomatie«, die zwischen den einzelnen Existenzweisen vermittelt. Nicht weniger als die Zukunft unseres Planeten steht auf dem Spiel und nicht weniger als eine solche diplomatische Vermittlung versucht dieses grundlegende und wegweisende Buch zu leisten. Auf dass wir endlich modern werden!
Varujan Vosganian breitet einen fein gewebten Teppich an Geschichten und Figuren vor uns aus. In Focsani, einer Provinzstadt in Rumänien, scheinen sich die Wege des aus seiner Heimat vertriebenen armenischen Volkes zu kreuzen: Da ist Sahag, der von seiner Mutter für einen Sack Mehl verkauft wurde, und Siruni, die von den Russen nach Sibirien deportiert wurde. Und da ist Großvater Garabet, der weise die Fäden dieser so wunder- wie grausamen Saga zusammenhält. Eine fremde und ferne Welt, voll von phantastischen Geschichten und von tragischer Geschichte - das Schicksal des Volkes von Armenien als epochaler Roman.

Best Books