Unmasking Ideology in Imperial and Colonial Archaeology: Vocabulary, Symbols, and Legacy

Series: Ideas, Debates, and Perspectives 8
ISBN: 978-1-938770-13-5
Publication Date: Mar 2018
Price: Pb $85.00, eBook $45.00
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Bonnie Effros and Guolong Lai

“offer[s] a rich context, with a social historical rigour that provides an insightful backdrop to contemporary political events, as well as being a welcome addition to the growing literature on the histories of imperial and colonial archaeology practiced worldwide”

— Uzma Z. Rizvi, Antiquity, 2019

“The impressive geographical range, the variety of cases, and the depth of analysis will make this volume a key reference book for understanding relations between archaeology, imperialism, and national identities.”
  — John Hutchinson, Nations and Nationalism, 2019

This volume addresses the entanglement between archaeology, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and war. Popular sentiment in the West has tended to embrace the adventure rather than ponder the legacy of archaeological explorers. Allegations by imperial powers of “discovering” archaeological sites or “saving” world heritage from neglect or destruction have often provided the pretext for expanding political might. Consequently, Indigenous populations often fell victim to imperialism, while seeing their lands confiscated, artifacts looted, and the ancient remains in their midst commodified. Spanning the globe with case studies from East Asia, Siberia, Australia, North and South America, Europe, and Africa, sixteen contributions written by archaeologists, art historians, and historians from four continents offer unusual breadth and depth in the assessment of various facets of claims to patrimonial heritage in the context of imperial and colonial ventures of the last two centuries, and their post-colonial legacy.

Table of Contents

Ch. 1: Archaeology and Imperialism: From Nineteenth-Century New Imperialism to Twentieth-Century Decolonization by Margarita Diaz-Andreu

Ch. 2: German Archaeology in Occupied Europe during World War II: A Case Of Colonial Archaeology? by Hubert Fehr

Ch. 3: Problematizing the Encylopedic Museum: The Benin Bronzes and Ivories in Historical Context by Neil Brodie

Ch. 4: Digging up China: Imperialism, Nationalism, and Regionalism in the Yinxu Excavation, 1928-1937 by Guolong Lai

Ch. 5: "They have not changed in 2,500 years": Art, Archaeology and Modernity in Iran by Talinn Grigor

Ch. 6: The Entanglement of Native Americans and Colonialist Archaeology in the Southwestern United States by Chip Colwell

Ch. 7: The History of Archaeology through the Eyes of Egyptians by Wendy Doyon

Ch. 8: Indigenous Voices at the Margins: Nuancing the History of French Colonial Archaeology in Ninteenth-Century Algeria, 1830-1870 by Bonnie Effros

Ch. 9: Critiquing the Discovery Narrative of Lady Mungo by Ann McGrath

Ch. 10: In the Shadow Zone of Imperial Politics: Archaeological Research in Buryatia from the Late Nineteenth Century to the 1940s by Ursula Brosseder

Ch. 11: Imperial Archaeology or an Archaeology of Exoticism? Victor Segalen’s Expeditions in Early Twentieth-Century China by Jian Xu

Ch. 12: Four German Art Historians in Republican China by Lothar von Falkenhausen

Ch. 13: French Archaeology and History in the Colonial Maghreb: Inheritance, Presence, and Absence by Matthew McCarty

Ch. 14: The Colonial Origins of Myth and National Identity in Uganda by Peter R. Schmidt

Ch. 15: Japanese Colonial Archaeology in Korea and Its Legacy by Yangjin Pak

Ch. 16: The Cloth Colonization: Peruvian Tapestries in the Andes and in Foreign Museums by Maya Stanfield-Mazzi