Sprache der Dinge – Language of Things

Materialität, Realität und Konfliktivität in Museologie, Archäologie und anderen dinglichen Wissenschaften / Materiality, reality and conflictivity in museology, archaeology and other material sciences


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MOOC & Archäologie? Ja! aber…. / MOOC´s and Archaeology? Yes! but….

Vor einiger Zeit begann ich auf Coursera einen Kurs zum Thema Universal Heritage. Da lagen schon mehrere gute Kurse zum Thema Vorgeschichte, Museum etc. hinter mir: Natürlich Archaeologys Dirty Little Secrets der unglaublichen Sue Alcock der Brown University und die MOMA-Moocs “Art & Inquiry. Museum Teaching Strategies for your Classroom” , zum Beispiel.

Recovering the Humankind´s Past and Saving the Universal Heritage” wurde von der Sapienza Universität Rom angeboten und versprach eine Einführung zum Thema Heritage und Archäologie in der heutigen Zeit sowie das Erlernen digitaler Techniken in Forschung und Bewahrung archäologischer Funde. Das klang mehr als verlockend, denn geht es nicht darum, uns als Wissenschaft neu zu positionieren, eine Stellungnahme anzubieten zum Thema Geschichte, Vorgeschichte, Relevanz? Und das alles in einem MOOC! Großartig. Ich war dabei. Und dachte an Themen wie Indigene Archäologien, Heritage für alle, das Zugangs- und Bestimmungsrecht über Geschichte und die Debatten darüber, was Heritage sein sollte und wo die Grenzen liegen – sei es in Deutschland wie im Fall der dresdner Brücke oder vielleicht in Lateinamerika wo Heritage auch eine Frage von Abstammung und Recht ist.

Leider stellte sich bereits sehr schnell heraus, dass es hier nicht um die brennenden Eisen der Geschichtswissenschaften gehen würde. Ein älterer Professor brachte statisch sitzend und besonders langsam sprechend sowie unterlegt mit powerpointartigen Photos echte Gemeinplätze zum Thema Heritage vor. Schon die Einführungswoche mit dem Thema Was ist Archäologie, wo kommt sie her etc. zeigte, dass ich meine wenige Zeit eventuell doch anders verbringen sollte als mit diesem Seminar. Denn in diesem Kurs kamen gleich am Anfang Aussagen wie diese: “Archäologische Objekte können nie eine Aussage an sich sein”. Ach, tatsächlich? Objekte sind also stumme Zeugen, denen nur der Archäologe etwas entlocken kann? Ich glaube, ich habe die letzten Jahre einfach die falschen Bücher zum Thema Materialität gelesen. Dass Objekte und Materialität ein ganz eigenes, mit dem unseren verwobenes “Leben” haben – ich dachte, DAS wäre mittlerweile ein Gemeinplatz. Ist es aber wohl nicht. Deshalb möchte ich hier noch einmal Leseempfehlungen aussprechen:

Hahn, H.-P., 2014: Materielle Kultur. Eine Einführung. Reimer Verlag.

Hodder, I., 2012: Entangled. (Habe hier drüber geschrieben.)

Hodder, I. (Hrsg), 2011: The Meanings of Things.Material culture and symbolic expression. Revised edition. Routledge.

Oder, wenn es ganz schnell gehen soll, gerne auch nur die wenigen Seiten in der letzten Auflage von Eggerts “Prähistorische Archäologie. Konzepte und Methoden.”, 2012, Seite 305 – 318.

Wer Materielle Kultur als schweigendes Zeugnis ansieht, bei dem kann auch Heritage und all die komplexen Fragen hierbei nicht wirklich schwierig vorkommen. Logisch, oder? Da restauriert man und gibt es zurück an die Menschheit. Fertig ist die Laube! (Entschuldigung, ich verkürze und pointiere natürlich.)

Ganz ähnlich, aber auch ganz anders erging es mir mit dem MOOC zu Paläoanthropologie, der schick gemacht und sehr spannend war. Reisen nach Südafrika, in Labore, viele Interviews mit Forschern zum Thema und besonders wichtig, wie ich fand: WARUM machen diese Menschen, diese Forscher, das? Warum haben sie sich dafür entschieden, wie sind sie dazu gekommen und warum sind sie dabei geblieben? Brennende Fragen, denn sie rühren ja an das Grundthema von Wissenschaft: Warum mache ich das? Warum nehme ich viel Arbeit, und ja, auch Entbehrungen auf mich? Es war sehr spannend, Intervierws dazu zu hören. Mit Wissenschaftlern, mit Studierenden.

Wie sich in den Interviews herausstellte, war der Abenteuerfaktor ein großes Thema. Dass es so toll wäre, rund um die Welt zu reisen und spannende Dinge zu tun. Und ich bin mir ganz sicher, dass das für uns alle ein großer Faktor ist. Aber es gibt auch andere Gründe. Gründe, die unsere Forschung für viele Menschen zu einem Thema machen (können). Gerade bei der Erforschung der ersten Menschen steckt soviel drin! Hier kam es leider sehr wenig zur Sprache, bzw. es wurde wenig nachgefragt und hinterfragt. Ebenso wie das möglicherweise kontroverse Thema „Nordamerikanische Forschung in einem afrikanischen Land“. Interviewt wurden nämlich fast ausschließlich weiße, nordamerikanische Forscher. Die dann in Südafrika eine Forschung durchführen. Also, selbst als Laie würde ich sagen, da steckt einiges an Konfliktpotential drin, selbst wenn man mal Themen wie Kreationismus und Bibelgläubigkeit oder Koranfestigkeit außer acht lässt, die sicher auch kontroverse Debatten zum Thema „Hominiden“ bieten.

Ich war doch erstaunt war, dass diese Themen komplett ausgespart wurden. Das war allerdings auch schon bei ADLS aufgefallen und ich frage mich: lassen die Universitäten hier Themen aus? Gibt es Themen, die ausgespart werden, weil sie zu kontrovers sind? Oder ist es eine Art Selbstzensur der beteiligten Wissenschaftler? Wer als Forscher*in in Ägypten, Jordanien, der Karibik zu tun hat, dem glaube ich nicht, dass da keine Erfahrungen sind. Und Meinungen. Diskurse.

Und darum finde ich mittlerweile: MOOCs und Archäologie – unbedingt. Bitte! Viel davon, in verschiedensten Facetten! Aber bitte, nicht die schwierigen, kontroversen Fragen aussparen. Finanzierungen, Streits um Deutungshoheit, all das sollte auch mal vorkommen dürfen. Hier möchte ich ganz deutlich sagen, dass ich es immer wieder und immer noch sehr wichtig finde, dass wir auch diese Themen, die sich ja aus unserer Geschichte und Forschungsgeschichte ergeben, auch angehen. Dass wir sie erwähnen und die momentan dazu im Raum stehenden kontroversen Ideen erklären und weiterführen. Das ist unangenehm und es kann sehr sehr anstrengend sein – gerade wenn die Gegenseite, Laien, indigene Gruppen, werauchimmer, darauf auch kontrovers antworten und tatsächlich eine MEINUNG zu unserer Forschung haben. Aber genau darum geht es: um Kommunikation. Und das ist keine Einbahnstraße.

MOOCs zum Thema Archäologie und angrenzenden Gebieten in den letzten 12-15 Monaten:

Sapienza University of Rome on Coursera: Recovering the Humankind´s Past and Saving the Universal Heritage

University of Buckingham on Iversity: Stonehenge.

ZEIT-Akademie: Archäologie

University of Wisconsin on Coursera: Human Evolution: Past and Future.

Brown University on Coursera: Archaeology´s Dirty Little Secrets

 ENGLISH VERSION

Some time ago, I started a course on the topic of Universal Heritage at Coursera. This was at a point when  I had already passed through several good MOOCs on the topic of prehistory, museums and archaeology.: of course Archaeologys Dirty Little Secrets of the incredible Sue Alcock of Brown University, and the MOMA-Moocs “Art & Inquiry. Museum Teaching Strategien for your classroom”.

This specific MOOC, “Recovering the Humankind´s Past and Saving the Universal Heritage”, was presented by the Sapienza University of Rome and promsied to be an introduction on the topic of Heritage and Archaeology in modern times as well as tools for learning digital techniques in the investigation and preservation of archaeological finds. That sounded very promising. All these topics together in one MOOC: Heritage, preservation, techniques, prehistory. What came to my mind was: Indigenous Archaeology, Heritage for everybody, the access and interpretation of Prehistory and the debates about what heritage exactly is and what it could or should be. And what its limits are – be it in Germany in the case of the bridge in Dresden or maybe in Latinamerica where Heritage includes questions of descendance and birthright.

Unfortunately, I never made it to the “technical” section of the MOOC because the first sessions started with an introduction held by an elderly professor who stated, slowly speaking and with a background of powerpoint-y photos such common place enunciations about arcaheology and heritage that I decided to leave it right there. Because of phrases like: “Archaeological objects can never be a statement in themselves”. Oh, really? Objects are silent witnesses, then, and only an archaeologist might get something out of them? It seems that I´ve read the wrong books on materiality lately. That objects and materiality lead their own life, intertwined with ours, I thought that would be common place. Seems, it is not. And who sees material culture as silent witness, perceives heritage and all the complex issues associated with it as one simple thing: restaure it (HOW? WHY?), give it back (To WHOM?) – and that´s it! (I am sorry, I really DO abbreviate here.).

Similarly, although in a different way, was the experience with the MOOC on Paleoanthropology, offered by the University of Wisconsin, that was very well made and included a wide range of fascinating topics. Travelling to South Africa, visits to excavations, interviews with actual paleoanthropologists! Information on the evolution of humans! Laboratory time! And, what impressed me most was: the MOOC put an emphasis on personal experiences. Why do all these people work as paleoanthropologists? What lead them to choose this career? Why did they go on? Arduent questions because they touch the bases of scientific research: Why do I do this? Why do I spend so much time and energy on it? It was absolutely fascinating to go through these interviews with scientists and students. In the end, it turned out that the “adventure factor” was a major topic for all of them. That it´s so great to travel round the wourld and do exciting, adventurous things. And I am sure that this is a major thing for all of us. But there area other reasons as well. Reasons that (can) make our investigation a relevant topic to many other people. And the evolution of humanity is such a fascinating topic! But I would have been happy to see other subjects covered as well.

In all these interviews, as in all other MOOCs as well, controversial topics were ignored. This focus on rather “pleasant” topics in a MOOC has been present in every single one of them. Controversial subjects are being left out completely. Is this part of the official idea of doing a MOOC? Are the universities involved or is it the scientists themselves that exclude these topics in order to create a more “harmonious” MOOC? I assume that investigators working in countries like Egypt, Jordan, South Africa or the Caribbean have some opinions on controversial archaeological subjects in their study regions?! There have to be experiences, opinions, discourses? And that is why I came to think about MOOCs and Archaeology as a complicated subject.

Archaeology & MOOCs – great! But please, don´t exclude controversial topics. Let´s be more open about the subjects that concern scientists and other people alike. Let´s face difficult questions on participation as well, not only the nicer, more adventurous subjects. Problems of financiation, the power and access to interpretation – all these should have their own space in the MOOCs as well, among others. These topics, that accompany Archaeology for as long as it exists should have a right to appear and to be discussed in MOOCs. Especially there, because of their open and interactive online nature! Why don´t discuss the controversial ideas as well as the “harmonious” ones? Yes, this can be more unpleasant and time consuming than just talking about our latest adventure in the jungle, but it may be more fructiferous, as well. Many people have opinions on archaeology. And we can learn how to listen to them and interact. Because this is the point: communication! This is not a One-Way Road.

MOOCs on Archaeology and similar topics in the last 12-15 months, partially covered in this blog:

Sapienza University of Rome on Coursera: Recovering the Humankind´s Past and Saving the Universal Heritage

University of Buckingham on Iversity: Stonehenge.

ZEIT-Akademie: Archäologie

University of Wisconsin on Coursera: Human Evolution: Past and Future.

Brown University on Coursera: Archaeology´s Dirty Little Secrets

 

 

 


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Heute: Archäologie & Popkultur? Archaeologik schreibt dazu!

Heute möchte ich gerne einen Artikel des Blogs Archaeologik weiterverlinken, denn das Thema “Archäologie & Popkultur”, Archäologie als Marke etc. sind ein großes Thema, über das wir zumindest mal nachdenken sollten!
Rainer Schreg hat dazu großartig gebloggt:  http://archaeologik.blogspot.de/2015/04/archaologie-im-dienst-von-pop-kultur.html

Und übrigens: Rainer Schreg spricht auf der DFUG-Tagung zum ähnlichen Thema. http://archaeologik.blogspot.de/2015/04/schafft-sich-die-offentlichkeit-eine.html


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Citing: Publishing Archaeology: is archaeology relevant? Or is “relevance” irrelevant?

Ich möchte hier gerne einen Link einfügen zu einem Blogbeitrag von Michael Smith, Mesoamerikanistik mit Fokus auf vorspanischer Urbanität.

Sein Artikel: “Publishing Archaeology. Is archaeology relevant? Or is “relevance” irrelevant?” kam über einen Retweet auf meinen Twitteraccount und ich möchte ihn auch gerne hier einfügen.

Bitte, lesen, nachdenken, umdenken!

And in English: 

This link came to me from a retweet and its a blog post by Michael Smith, archaeologist with a special focus on mesoamericanic prehispanic urbanity and neighborhoods as well as communication with other sciences. Its so great that I would like to post it here as well!

Publishing Archaeology. Is archaeology relevant? Or is “relevance” irrelevant?”

Please read, think and think again!


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A digital artefact or: the whole world is entangled. #edcmooc

 

Its been four weeks now and at the “E-Learning & Digital Culture” -mooc we have been through a lot of thinking on how the human & the digital mingle & intertwine. And for weeks now, there has been one word on my mind; calling, teasing, pushing me to inquire further. Its: entanglement. It has already been present at this blog, right from the start: when writing about the concept of the anthropocene or the exposition Human – Object – Jaguar. When talking about the 2013 conference on materiality and things in Berlin. It has always been here, but now it has reached a new level, a clearer perspective.

 

Collage entanglements sprachederdingeblog

Collage entanglements sprachederdingeblog

Entanglement is the thing that offers a historical and futuristic perspective on our relationship to the human & digital world and their supposed opposition. The word “digital artifact” in itself evokes a kind of startling opposition – isn’t an artifact to be actually made by a human – by a human hand & to be actually physical, touchable? Well, the opposition between digital & human disappears when you think of my hands writing this text.

Entanglement:
tr.v. en·tan·gleden·tan·glingen·tan·gles

1. To twist together or entwine into a confusing mass; snarl.
2. To complicate; confuse.
3. To involve in or as if in a tangle” (as seen here). 
And being thus it has, obviously, much to do with the intertwining spheres of human & digital, if we may apply these distinctions. “Entangled” has also been one of the most discussed topics in archaeology in the last 18 months. “Entangled” by Ian Hodder, has brought to mind the human – object – relations, the object – object – relations and the human – human – relations that define ourselves since human beings have appeared on Earth. But: How does this connect to the theme of #edcmooc?
Well, our human relation to the material, object world has always been complex & manyfolded, implying that it´s not only us, the humans, who are changing and forming objects, but objects form us as well. They change us, and our perception of the world. And objects do have lives with other objects, relating and influencing each other. Its an increasingly complex web of relations, defining human and object nature for several tens of thousands of years. In one case, Humans themselves have been described as objects, “emerging out of nowhere and changing everything” (Bryant 2012 cited in Marila 2013).
Collage entanglements sprachederdingeblog

Collage entanglements sprachederdingeblog

And the implications of this definition of entanglements go even further. If we extend this complex web of relationships to our current societies, then the digital & the human world are intertwined as well, influencing each other in a mutual way. Many of the short films that accompanied the mooc have shown this – from marketing ads up to rather philosophical short films. The debate on transhumanism borders on just this question: who are we, and what objects do enhance or change us when we incorporate them into ourselves and our lives? If “tracing entanglement means making our way through a strongly heterogeneous world & following links and chains” (Pollock et al. 2014 on Hodders “Entangled”), overstepping disciplinary boundaries, than the current intertwining of “digital” & “human” or “real” does just that: it opens a whole world of new links & paths. The point is notify you’re  using your smartphone “only” to check on Facebook or if you’re engaging heavily in internet technology & the digital self, discussing topics like transhumanism and a digital life. We are all changing from this new entanglement, even if we don’t use these new objects & technologies.
 
Entanglements & the temporal urge of Dis-Entanglements (aka “simplifying your life”, “get back to the essential(s)”) with objects & technologies have ever been part of human life. There is no such thing as a “humanist” era when technology didn’t influence on our “self”, our “minds” or being. We have always been and will always be in motion with the object world that surrounds us. Its not a question of discussion but a fact – a fact we have to consider carefully to take our own steps in this intertwined world of relationships. How far would you like to go? How much are you disposed to invest? And why do you choose to do so?
Street Art, Berlin, Germany sprachederdingeblog

Street Art, Berlin, Germany sprachederdingeblog

Suggested reading:
Marila, M. (2013) Ian Hodder: Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things , Norwegian Archaeological Review, 46:1, 121-123, DOI: 10.1080/00293652.2013.773367
Pollock, S., R. Bernbeck, C. Jauß, J. Greger, C. von Rüden, S. Schreiber, 2014. Entangled Discussions: Talking with Ian Hodder About His Book Entangled, Berlin, 14. December 2013. Forum Kritische Archäologie 3: 151-161.
P.S. I was searching desperately for online ressources to create my digital artifact in another form than a blog post. But unfortunately, there seems to be nothing as flexible as my blog? I wanted this post to be rather like a digital scrapbook to be thumbed through, with pages for pictures and the like, something that included shortcuts, links and text, together with a flexible insertion of my own pictures and drawing and collages. But I couldn’t find anything like that, or rather: not for free. So – I recurred to blogging, after all!


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E-Learning and Digital Culture #edcmooc : finishing week 3!

As the course is in English, pardon me if this post will be only available in English, as well.

Though I have been November-ill most of this week, I found some time in between to catch up with the videos and lectures of #edcmooc in this third week. It´s fascinating, because now we are on to something absolutely basic to humans: the question on how we define ourselves as humans and how this relates to the idea of digitally and its impacts on human being and society. After reading & watching the resources, including this great short film “They are made out of meat“, I was definitely wondering on the human – digital nature of our current world. It all depends on where your priority lies when you define something!

Surely, thats a question that comes up every so often when you notice that you are bound to the news on twitter, blogs, etc. When you realize that a smartphone has become a real part of your life, creating networks of persons (well, what persons? real persons? avatars?), well lets say “beings” that are becoming part of your life, that in a certain way you trust in the fact that they are THERE (out there, in any case). So: is this a new level of being human? I haven’t read enough on the subject to revise any theories that may exist, its just that I feel something is changing. Our social life is increasingly immersed in others than the actual “real” spheres of life: meeting in person, speaking (life or on telephone). There are other ways to be inside a peer group and they are virtual.

Now, I have often been asked by older family members if I don’t feel that I am depended on my smartphone. And on the internet. And I have to say that: YES, I have become dependent on it. And with developing this dependency I have learnt to be able to cope with it, balance it, give it the room it needs. And to create and maintain OTHER rooms of relationships as well! Is dependency on new social groups bad or good? Or is it just a new form of interaction? Just as books were considered to be sickening to people who read too much, or TV for people who watch it for hours? And isn’t this all about how we deal with it? It helped me a lot to see historic approaches to “what is human” from antiquity onwards, because it shows you that the integration of new traits in our perception of humanity is a changing and slow process.

It seems to me that we are, right now, in an age where many of us are divided between the people that are online and offline present – and the ones that don’t use online social resources but have a rather pragmatic, informational approach to the use of the internet and digital possibilities. I still can’t see where the Digital Natives fit in, but I hope to find out as my child grows up.

Anyway, being immersed in the sphere of Moocs, constant twitter messages, emails and the like, I cannot help but feel that this is and will become a really big part of our future. We will be immersed in digital life & we will have to come terms with it in order to create a healthy relationship with it.

Personally, I see humanity mainly as the ability and the wish to belong to a social group (or various). This may be a very simplistic definition, but its what for me characterizes a human being in the foremost sense. Any other human elements as well as a critic approach to this wish of belonging, in my opinion, stem from it. In this sense, immersing oneself in new social groups in a digital world is just a logical next step from where we are right now. This blog is just one example of changing the “real” world employing digital means. Creating new networks & reaching out to new people, present in this new space of digitalis. (Guy from Guy Cowleys Blog put my feelings into an image, that can be seen here!)

Extending our space into a digital one is maybe also a logical development when in the “real” world we don’t have nothing left to discover. OUr geography has been out mapped 100 years ago and what is left is outer space – and digital space. I sometimes tend to see digital space like a new land, where you may get lost, encounter wonderful places, adventures and perils. its these human feelings that have remained the same, and we set about this new continent of Digital-Land. Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives are just words that are in line with these feelings.

Sprachederdinge blog #edcmooc

Sprachederdinge blog #edcmooc


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Archäologie & Politik oder: die Relevanz von Archäologie auf dem Pausenflur. / Archaeology & politics, or: the relevance of Archaeology discussed at the coffee break.

sprechende dinge Naturkundemuseum Stuttgart

sprechende dinge Naturkundemuseum Stuttgart

Archäologie & Politik – ein großes, sehr großes Thema. Momentan beschäftige ich mich gerade damit, denn erstens geht mir dieses Thema seit mehreren Jahren im Kopf herum und zweitens werde ich es Ende Juni auf der ADLAF-Nachwuchs-Tagung in Berlin in einem Kurzvortrag vorstellen.

In Gesprächen mit Bekannten, Kollegen, Freunden sehe ich immer wieder, dass nur sehr wenige Menschen die Relevanz des Themas sehen. Immerhin reden wir hier ja über vergangene Zeiten, nichts was uns jetzt direkt betrifft. Oder? Vergangenheit ist eben vergangen – wie sollte uns das heute betreffen? Meine Faszination und auch meine Vorsicht bei diesem Thema reichen bis weit ins Studium zurück, noch in die Fast-Vor-Internet-Zeiten.  In der Fakultät (und zwar bezeichnenderweise auf dem Pausenflur) erwähnte jemand die Verstrickung der deutschen Ur-und Frühgeschichte in die Volk&Raum-Ideologie der Nazis. Ich war elektrisiert. So eine aktuelle Verbindung von Vorgeschichte und heutiger Zeit? Das war mir nicht bewusst gewesen – und es war Mitte/Ende der 1990er Jahre auch nie Thema im Studium – außer eben auf dem Flur.

Noch aktueller wurde es dann jedoch während meiner eigenen Forschungen in den Südanden ab dem Jahr 2000. Immer wieder wurden meine Forschungsergebnisse in Vorträgen angefordert und dann gerne mittels interessierter Nachfragen dahin gelenkt, dass sie zeitgenössische politische Interessen unterstützen sollten. Es dauerte ein wenig, bis ich dem entgegentrat und die Daten, die ich gesammelt hatte, als DATEN zur Verfügung stellte – dann aber nicht davon ausging, dass sich das schon irgendwie regelt sondern diese Daten durch ein Monitoring auch in ihrer weiteren Verbreitung etwas begleitete und mich gegen direkte Instrumentalisierung verwahrte, wenn es mir möglich war.  Ich glaube immer noch, dass es nicht darum gehen kann, archäologische Daten erst zu “generieren” und diese dann im Sinne von “Damit hab ich nix mehr zu tun” in den angeblich leeren, neutralen Raum der Wissenschaft zu stellen. Jeder Archäologe sollte sich bewusst sein, dass Daten politische, gesellschaftliche Relevanz haben und man Verantwortung dafür trägt (s.a. Link zur “Nation Chichas“).

Die Verbindung der Ur-& Frühgeschichte mit der Kulturkreis-Idee und der daraus hervorgehenden Volk-&-Raum-Theorie der Nazis sind in den letzten Jahren recht detailliert aufgearbeitet (s. Bibliographie). Was aber heute & hier passiert, darauf sind wir im Praktischen selten vorbereitet. Denn immer noch heißt es: du schreibst auch für Nicht-Wissenschaftler? Du vermittelst deine Daten in Vorträgen die NICHT auf Fachpublikum zugeschnitten sind? Das ist doch vulgarisierte Archäologie! Wo sind deine Fach-Publikationen? Was soll der Sinn der Vermittlung deiner Daten sein, wenn du sie an Nicht-Archäologen weitergibst? Diese und anderen Antworten habe ich häufig gehört und dasselbe auch von Kollegen erfahren, die ihre Ergebnisse ebenfalls für andere Menschen außerhalb der Academia publizieren.

Aber in der Praxis ist es doch so: wir arbeiten in einem gesellschaftlichen Kontext, den unsere Daten interessieren. Cornelius Holtorf hat die Gründe hierfür für westliche Kulturen aufgearbeitet, aber je nach Land ist die Umgebungssituation mehr oder weniger interessiert an Archäologie, häufig sind Menschen in konfliktiven gesellschaftlichen Situationen (wie etwa in Ländern mit kolonialer Vorgeschichte) interessierter an Daten ihrer Vorgeschichte um diese auch in eigenen, z.T. politisierten Diskursen intensiv zu nutzen und sie zu instrumentalisieren. Und in diesem Sinne treffen unserer Forschungen auf Interesse bei der Bevölkerung und wird von dieser aufgegriffen, weiter benutzt, umgedeutet. Für mich persönlich heißt das: ich kümmere mich auch nach der Generierung um die Daten, soweit ich dazu die Möglichkeit habe. Es geht mir nicht darum, eine Deutungshoheit zu schaffen, aber wenn ich sehe dass Daten in eine Richtung interpretiert werden, die stark politisiert ist möchte ich dem zumindest widersprechen – denn auch ich darf zu meinen Daten eine Meinung haben und muss das Herauspicken von dem Anderen genehmen und politisch gerade gewünschten Teilaspekten nicht widerspruchslos zusehen. Und insofern ist eine Vermittlungsarbeit in meinen Augen für jedes archäologische Projekt wichtig: Vermitteln an die unmittelbare und mittelbare Umgebung, durch Vorträge, Besuche, Publikationen jeder Art. Und: es sollte in den Lehrplan, es sollte zu jedem Studium dazugehören Daten auch vermitteln zu können oder zumindest eine Idee davoni zu haben, dass so etwas relevant ist. archäologische Daten haben geselleschaftliche Relevanz und je mehr wir sie vermitteln, desto besser können unsere Chancen für Akzeptanz und am Ende auch, ja: Geld, Fördermittel, stehen. Archäologie betrifft alle, und auch die Politik. Das ist kein Thema, das nur auf dem Pausenflur bleiben sollte.

Ausgewählte Literatur:

Boytner, R., L. Swartz Dodd & B. J. Parker (Hrsg.), 2010. Controlling the Past, Owning the Future. The Political Uses of Archaeology in the Middle East. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Archäologie für Politiker, hrsg. von Dominique Oppler

Herrera Wassilowsky, A. (Hrsg.), 2013. Arqueologia y desarrollo en América del Sur. De la Práctica a la Teoría. Lima: IEP.

Holtorf, C., 2007. Archaeology is a brand. The Meaning of Archaeology in contemporary popular culture. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Ojala, C.-G., 2009. Sámi Prehistories. The Politics of Archaeology and Identity in Northernmost Europe. Uppsala: University of Uppsala.

Parzinger, H., 2012. Archäologie und Politik. Eine Wissenschaft und ihr Weg zum kulturpolitischen Global Player. RHEMA Verlag.

Schachtmann, J., et al. (Hg.), 2009. Politik und Wissenschaft in der Prähistorischen Archäologie. Perspektiven aus Sachsen, Böhmen und Schlesien. Göttingen: VR unipress.

Swartley, L., 2002. Inventing Indigenous Knowledge. Archaeology, Rural development and the raised field Rehabilitation Project in Bolivia. NY & London: Routledge.

Aktuelles Beispiel: Verquickung von Archäologie & Politik im zeitgenössischen autonomischen Diskurs in Bolivien: die “Nation Chichas” (Spanisch)

ENGLISH VERSION

Archaeology and Politics, that’s a big, a really big issue. I am working currently on a short paper & poster I will be presenting at the ADLAF on the end of June in Berlin, and, moreover, its an issue that has been on my mind for years now.

Talking with acquaintances, friends, collegaues, I got the impression that only very few are aware of the importance and relevance of the connection between archaeology and politics. I mean: we are talking on past times, aren´t we? Times, that don’t concern us dreictly, in the present, right now? Or are we not? The Past is past us – why shouldn’t we care about it now? My fascination and sensibilization for this issue can be traced to a moment years ago, when I was still studying European Archaeology, before internet became a commodity. At the faculty floors somebody mentioned the immersion of the German Archaeology of the 1920s with Nazist ideologies like “People & Space” (Volk-und-Raum-Theorie). I was electrified. Here was an actual connection between archaeology and politics? I had never thought about that! In the mid 1990ies, this was never any issue in our archaeology classes – but in the breaks themes like this came up between students.

It got even more pressing when I began my archaeological investigations in the South Andes from the year 2000 onwards. Again and again, my data and interpretations were required in public speeches and were directed to interpretations that suited the local politic elites rather well. It took some time until I gathered the courage to position myself against it and (at the same time) against the influential people that were behind these instrumentalizations and –redirection of archaeological data. I always offered my data to a very heterogeneous group of people, ranging from local –rather white skinned – elites to local habitants, indigenous groups, school children and the like. But as time went by, I increasingly vetoed against the use of short & convenient versions of my data as instruments of political tendencies, to reach political goals etc. “Data on the loose” doesn’t mean you can relax and just don’t bother anymore. Data should be monitored if their free use tends to be discriminating for some sections of the society. That, at least, is my personal opinion gathered in these years abroad. If I am capable of influencing the politicized use of my data, their presentation in a shortened “light” version that sustains political claims – then I will, I even have to intervene. I cant believe any longer that’s it the sense of science in general and archaeology in particular, to first generate a lot of data, and then let them on the loose in a supposedly “empty”, “neutral” space of science. Every archeologist should be acutely aware of the political and social relevance of his/her data and act accordingly and responsibly.

The connection between the European (and here especially German) archaeology and the ideas of the Kulturkreis and the theories on “People/Nation & Space“ have been widely presented in the last years (have a look at the bibliography). But what happens here and now to our data is another question and not many seem to be prepared for it. Because its always the same: “So, you are writing for a non-scientific public?? You are presenting your data publicly to a non-scientific section of society? Then this is archaeology vulgarized? That’s not science! Where are you scientific papers? And what for are you presenting your data to a wider public?” (The corpus of literature on this is growing as well, see bibliography below). These were questions and comments colleagues and I myself got a lot.

But reality is a complex thing: we are working in a society who is interested in our data. The reasons for this interest are manifold and varying. Cornelius Holtorf gives an excellent overview for the background of this for Western societies. In societies with a colonial background, the interest is far more complex and includes identity, nation state, autonomisation and even aspects like revenge, hate and the like.

And in these political contexts people are even more interested to use archaeological data to sustain their current political goals. Our data meet an overwhelming interest, they will be embraced, re-interpreted, re-directed. For me, personally, this means that I will take responsibility for my data and have a look at the context in which they are re-appearing. I am not interested in generating a patronization or a conclusive authority of my data, but to be sensible about their use after publication. And to intervene publicly should their use be directly political, bending data conveniently to a political goal. As a political person I have a right, too, to express my opinion about this issue and I will take this liberty and exercise my right of free opinion.

And this is also the reason why I believe that communicating archaeology is overwhelmingly important for ANY archaeological project: Communicating data to the immediate and mediate surrounding through papers, speeches, lectures, visits on the dig etc., online via homepage, blogging, whatever you like. And: it should be included in the curricula of future archeologists. We should be aware of this sphere of our work when we graduate. Archaeological data have societal relevance and if we are communicating them broadly than our possibilities to be accepted, and in the end also: to be financed, are better than if we ignore this part of our work or deem it unnecessary or a nuisance. Archaeology concerns everybody, and that means: politics too. That’s not a subject that should remain an issue of coffee breaks.

Selected readings:

Archäologie für Politiker, hrsg. von Dominique Oppler

Boytner, R., L. Swartz Dodd & B. J. Parker (Ed.), 2010. Controlling the Past, Owning the Future. The Political Uses of Archaeology in the Middle East. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Archäologie für Politiker, hrsg. von Dominique Oppler

Herrera Wassilowsky, A. (Ed.), 2013. Arqueologia y desarrollo en América del Sur. De la Práctica a la Teoría. Lima: IEP.

Holtorf, C., 2007. Archaeology is a brand. The Meaning of Archaeology in contemporary popular culture. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Ojala, C.-G., 2009. Sámi Prehistories. The Politics of Archaeology and Identity in Northernmost Europe. Uppsala: University of Uppsala.

Parzinger, H., 2012. Archäologie und Politik. Eine Wissenschaft und ihr Weg zum kulturpolitischen Global Player. RHEMA Verlag.

Schachtmann, J., et al. (Hg.), 2009. Politik und Wissenschaft in der Prähistorischen Archäologie. Perspektiven aus Sachsen, Böhmen und Schlesien. Göttingen: VR unipress.

Swartley, L., 2002. Inventing Indigenous Knowledge. Archaeology, Rural development and the raised field Rehabilitation Project in Bolivia. NY & London: Routledge.

A current example: Mingling of Archaeology & Politics: the current case of the bolivian “Nation Chichas” (Spanish)


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Blogging as Opportunity: Where are you/we going with blogging or would you it like to go? #blogarch

The final question of Doug´s Archaeology on Blogging Archaeology is out: Where are you/we going with blogging or would you it like to go?

In my perception, archaeological blogging is a rather informal way to raise archaoelogical topics without going all the length to a scientific article. Its an opportunity to shape ideas, explore themes I don´t have time to explore in other contexts. And if you understand it this way, the future of archaeological blogging for my personal experience should stay this way. An open space to share ideas.

Sure, I would like to get more followers and traffic, and it would be great to get visitors who are NOT embedded in the merely archaeological realm. But as the blog covers other themes like museology, materiality or art, I am hopeful to get a wider audience as time goes by.

In a broader perspective, I would like to see a growing impact of archaeological blogging, in the archaeological community but more than ever in the wider public, too. In a sense, archaeological blogging to me is a way to be heard, to get to a wider public and to take archaeology out of the ivory tower of science back to the people. Maybe this is different in Germany than in Great Britain or the USA. Here, Archaeology needs to go out and find new followers and new inspiration in order to get back to a standing it once had.

Moreover, archaeological blogging is to me an opportunity to connect our discipline to others – forming a real interdisciplinary space of ideas. This should be the future of archaeological blogging: a space to get to know each other and create new ideas. Be it with a non-archaeological public or with other scientists. In the sense of Web 2.0 as an open, ever changing and ever fluctuating area, this would be a great opportunity!