Archive for February, 2009

Next Seminar: The Annales School and the Longue Durée

The Annales School is a major French contribution to historiography. Since the middle of the twentieth century it has exerted a significant influence on historical research. In archaeology that influence was especially focussed on Fernand Braudel’s concept of the Longue Durée. Beyond adding a new analytic dimension to the study of history, the Longue Durée, focussing on long term social and economic developments rather than on events, within a geographic framework, turned out to be especially suited to archaeological research. It is the underlying approach that influenced the development of archaeological landscape studies and of key aspects of the New Archaeology. However, there are many other aspects to the Annales School, some of which chime with recent trends in archaeological thought such as the development of an holistic interpretive framework.

During the seminar we aim to explore the philosophy and methods of the Annales School as they might be applied to archaeology in Greece.

If you are interested in participating please email the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies and you will be provided with electronic versions of suggested reading. 7pm Friday 27th February 2009 at the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies (51a Odos Notara)

Contact: iihsa@hol.gr

https://archtheory.wordpress.com/

Next Seminar: Applicability of Agency

Agency is an idea borrowed from sociology and was developed mainly by Pierre Bourdieu. It is concerned mainly with social power relating to intentional and meaningful action. The concept refers to the capabilities of people and things as major components of social practice.

This is in contrast with other approaches which subject people to determining structures, humanistic approaches. It stresses the creative role of human agents who intend, have motivations, rationalise and reflexively monitor action. Any account of past societies must, therefore, take account aspects of everyday social practice and experience. As archaeologists we are charged with adapting agency to fit our discipline and adopting our own archaeo-centric concept of it, that being said, material and theory are rarely adequately meshed.

In this seminar we intend to look at the applicability of agency to archaeological material, with reference to two case studies. How it can be recognised in and applied to archaeological material? Is it at times misused or poorly understood by archaeologists because their study is based on artefacts not people? Does this sociological theory has a practical use in archaeology or do we use it because we feel we should?

Suggested Reading
Barrett, J.C., 2004    ‘Agency The Duality of structure, and the problem of the archaeological Record’, in I. Hodder (ed.) Archaeological Theory Today:  141-64.. Polity Press.
Dornan, J.  2002    ‘Agency and Archaeology: Past, Present and Future Directions’, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Vol 9 (4): 303-329.
Gravina, B., 2004    ‘Agency Technology, and the ‘Muddle in the Middle: The Case of the Middle Palaeolithic, in A Gardner (ed.) Agency Uncovered: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency and Human Beings: 65-81.    UCL Press
Lindenlauf, A., 2004    ‘Dirt, Cleanliness and Social Structure in Ancient Greece’, in A Gardner (ed.) Agency Uncovered : Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency and Human Beings: 81-107. UCL Press.

If you are interested in participating please email the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies (iihsa@hol.gr) and you will be provided with electronic versions of suggested reading.

7 pm Friday 13th February 2009 at the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies, 51a Notara Street.

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