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Making Archaeology Work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Much discussion on historical memory in Palestine-Israel has focused on the political appropriation of archaeological material in the creation of narratives relating to nationalist interests and colonial settlement. The appropriation of archaeology has been traced by foundational texts such as Whitelam (1996), Abu El-Haj (2001), and Finkelstein & Silberman (2001), which in turn have informed often-polarized debates within and outside the discipline. This work has established the political capital in harnessing archaeological narratives in Palestine-Israel, in particular their role in the construction of claims to land and to history over the course of the 20th century. However, in the post-9/11, post-Bush, post-Second Intifada worlds, archaeology finds itself in a very different political, academic - and physical - landscape. The reality on the ground has changed. What kinds of archaeologies have emerged from the changed historical conditions of the last fifteen years? How does archaeology now inhabit those changed conditions?This seminar discusses a joint Columbia University-Birzeit University Museum Anthropology project in the West Bank town of Shuqba, in the Wadi en-Natuf. The Wadi en-Natuf is currently undergoing a process of destructive landscape alteration, partly through Israeli settlement and road construction, and partly through the large scale dumping and burning of (possibly toxic) industrial and municipal wastes by Israeli and Palestinian agencies. In the face of all this, the local community and archaeologists (faculty and students) are making archaeology work: landscape survey, oral histories/memory maps, and museum/heritage initiatives.

Time: 6:15 pm
Location: Olin, Room 102
Sponsor: Anthropology Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program; Human Rights Program; Middle Eastern Studies Program
Phone: 845-758-6822

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