Image courtesy of Fotini Kondyli.
On April 22, 2016 Fotini Kondyli (University of Virginia) met a panel of CIAMS students (Sam Barber, Kathleen Garland, Jessica Plant, and Jess Ro. Pfundstein) and faculty (Ben Anderson) to discuss community in the rural landscapes of Byzantine Greece.
The full discussion of about 55 minutes opens below.
On March 25, 2016 UMass Boston archaeologist Stephen Silliman joined a panel of CIAMS students (Jennifer Carrington, Anastasia Kotsoglou, Peregrine Gerard-Little, and Samantha Sanft) and faculty (Kurt Jordan) to discuss entanglement and hybridity in archaeology.
The discussion of about an hour opens below.
Eilis Monahan, doctoral candidate (Cornell University, Near Eastern Studies)
Congratulations to Cornell doctoral candidate Eilis Monahan (Near Eastern Studies) for receiving an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant for her dissertation research on Cyprus! Her project abstract may be read below.
Enclosure and Exclusion: Fortifications and the Disciplinary Landscape in the Transition to the Late Bronze Age on Cyprus
The proposed archaeological research will investigate the construction of fortifications and shifting settlement patterns in Cyprus during the Middle Bronze Age to Late Bronze Age transition. These fortifications are the first monumental architecture on the island, but are only
in use during a brief but critical period, during the transformation of Cyprus from a relatively egalitarian and insular village-based society, to an urban-focused complex society, engaged in trade and diplomatic relations with the major polities of the eastern Mediterranean. Funding will support systematic pedestrian survey of the Yalias River Valley, continued excavation at the fortresses of Barsak and Nikolidhes, and the analysis of material from previous surveys and excavations of the cluster of fortified sites and contemporaneous settlements in the Ayios Sozomenos region in central Cyprus housed in the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia and the Medelhavsmuseet, Stockholm. This research will investigate the form, function, and construction methods of the fortifications and the location and chronology of other sites in the region, in order to explicate how fortifications produce a disciplinary landscape that alters the experience and perception of space, and the impact these effects have on social relations and the construction of authority.
This project investigates how the material world, including the natural and built environment, does not merely set the conditions of social practice, but is an efficacious actor within
the political domain. Significantly, this research will focus on how fortifications, by
dividing, organizing, and surveilling space and social practice, create a disciplinary landscape through which authority is represented and social inequality is apprehended. In this manner, this investigation into the role of Cypriot fortresses in shaping the imagination and experience of political life will contribute to the wider discussion of militarization and how political regimes are established through place-making and structuring human experience of the landscape, ongoing processes in regions of conflict and development throughout the world. Additionally
this study is the first to systematically investigate fortifications in the central region of Cyprus and
to situate their study within the context of the landscape and contemporaneous settlement patterns, which will provide information critical to understanding the history of Cyprus’ settlement shifts and social transformations, and articulating these developments with broader regional trajectories in the Mediterranean and the Near East.
CIAMS professor Lori Khatchadourian’s new book, Imperial Matter: Ancient Persia and the Archaeology of Empires, has just been published and is available for purchase. Congratulations, Prof. Khatchadourian, on an outstanding achievement!
A free e-book version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s open access publishing program.
Book description from the UC Press website:
What is the role of the material world in shaping the tensions and paradoxes of imperial sovereignty? Scholars have long shed light on the complex processes of conquest, extraction, and colonialism under imperial rule. But imperialism has usually been cast as an exclusively human drama, one in which the world of matter does not play an active role. Lori Khatchadourian argues instead that things—from everyday objects to monumental buildings—profoundly shape social and political life under empire. Out of the archaeology of ancient Persia and the South Caucasus, Imperial Matter advances powerful new analytical approaches to the study of imperialism writ large and should be read by scholars working on empire across the humanities and social sciences.
Lori Khatchadourian and Adam Smith in the field in Armenia.
Congratulations to CIAMS professors Lori Khatchadourian (Near Eastern Studies) and Adam Smith (Anthropology) for winning an NSF grant for their field research in the South Caucasus! Their collaborators include Ian Lindsay (Purdue), Alan Greene (Stanford), and Maureen Marshal (Illinois). Their project abstract may be read below.
Collaborative Research: Fortifications and Long-Term Political Process in Bronze and Iron Age Southern Caucasia
The proposed research investigates long-term shifts in fortress settlement systems, ancient warfare, and political transformation in the South Caucasus spanning ca.1500-200 BC, from
the initial construction of hilltop forts during the Late Bronze Age, to their elaboration under Urartian imperial dominion, to their repudiation in the Achaemenid Iron III period.
Funding from NSF will support two seasons of systematic survey, test excavations, bioarchaeological research, materials analysis, and environmental reconstruction in the upper Kasakh River valley of northwestern Armenia, which hosts sites from the full range of Bronze and Iron Age periods. This research will investigate how shifting patterns of fortress construction and use, residential mobility, and site destruction and abandonment were factors in shaping political association. The research will examine ancient fortified landscapes and warfare as social and material conditions through which political processes unfold. Its significance rests on three primary issues. First, this study will energize existing discussions of warfare in archaeology and anthropology by juxtaposing material indications of conflict with long-term patterns of settlement, political association, goods circulation and consumption, ritual practice, and social identity. In so doing, it will recast fortresses as more than just practical instruments in a material apparatus of force, but as vital in shaping political subjects and authority, as projects of communal labor, and as historically contingent objects of contestation and commemoration. Second, the proposed study will contribute essential time depth to dialogues seeking to lend social and historical context to contemporary regional conflicts, their impacts on the politics and identities of social groups, and the ties to place and polity among mobile communities. As persistent ethnic clashes continue to impact contemporary life, understanding the impact of war in the past can help frame the causes and implications of modern conflicts while shaping responses to them. Finally, this study marks the first attempt in the Caucasus to articulate the long-term history of conflict, settlement shifts, and social transformation in the region with both the broader regional trajectories of the Near East and more localized natural and anthropogenic environmental changes.
On February 19, 2016 Dr. Barbara Mills (University of Arizona) met with the graduate and undergraduate students taking the course Ceramic Analysis, which is taught by CIAMS professor Lori Khatchadourian. Their discussion of about 45 minutes–which considers how technological style and choice relate to the archaeological analysis of ceramic material–opens below.
The Cornell Department of Anthropology presents
Nadia Abu El-Haj
Department of Anthropology, Columbia University
“Combat through the Psychiatric Gaze: Conceptualizing Violence, Suffering, and Responsibility in the post-9/11 Era”
Friday, March 4, 2016
3:30pm to 5:00pm
McGraw Hall, 165 740-750 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Prof. Abu El-Haj’s Biography:
My work straddles the disciplines of anthropology and history of science. Concerned most generally with the relationships among scientific practices, social imaginaries and political regimes, I have examined the work of specific historical sciences within the context of their own historical and disciplinary conditions of possibility. In turn, I have sought to understand how the epistemological commitments and empirical facts (and “things”) presupposed and generated by those disciplines have shaped the historical and political “common-sense” of a settler-nation, the racial imaginary of a national-/diasporic politics, and particular understandings and practices of the self. While my two books to date have focused on historical sciences (Israeli archaeology, and genetic history), I am now working on the field of military psychiatry, exploring the complex ethical and political implications of shifting psychiatric and public understandings of the trauma of soldiers. Provisionally titled, The Ethics of Trauma: Moral Injury, Combat, and U.S. Empire, this book examines the myriad forms and legacies of violence that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have unleashed, and how it is that so many of their attendant horrors remain hidden in plain sight.
This event is free and open to the public. A recepton will follow the talk.
Photo credit: Matthew Devitt (ASU)
The Cornell Departments of Anthropology and CIAMS present
University of Arizona
Migration, Skill, and the Transformation of Social Networks in the Prehispanic Southwest
Friday, February 19
McGraw Hall 165
This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the talk.
Dr. Mills’s Bibliography:
I am an anthropological archaeologist with broad interests in archaeological method and theory, especially (but not exclusively) as applied to the North American Southwest. My work has focused on ceramic analysis as a tool for understanding production, distribution, and consumption but more broadly is my interest in material culture to understand social relations in the past. My research on ceramic technology, craft specialization, and accumulations research led to a series of papers and edited volumes on social inequality, identity, feasting, and migration. These interests were fostered by more than a decade of work in the Silver Creek area of east-central Arizona, including a multi-year collaborative project with the White Mountain Apache Tribe. I also have field and research experience in a number of other areas of the Southwest including Zuni, Chaco, Mimbres, Grasshopper, and most recently the Greater Hohokam area. Outside the U.S. I have research experience in Guatemala (Postclassic Maya), Kazakhstan (Bronze Age), and Turkey (Neolithic). Besides ceramics I am interested in depositional practice, and how that can be used to understand memory, materiality, and relational logics. Currently I am a PI on the Southwest Social Networks Project, which brings together data and a talented group of scholars to apply social network analysis (SNA) to archaeological data from a large area of the western Southwest. This ongoing project continues my interest in looking at the dynamics of social relations from a multiscalar perspective.
Congratulations to Bill Mastandrea on completing his MA degree from CIAMS! Bill’s Masters’ Thesis is entitled “Cupellation at Kea: Investigating Potential Applications of the Minoan Conical Cup.” This fall, Bill plans to begin pursuing a Ph.D. in Archaeology. The CIAMS crew wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors!