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Decolonial archaeology as social justice

  • Yannis Hamilakis (a1)


And now what? This anxious question torments many of us in the current socio-political moment: that of Trumpism and Brexit; of resurgent xenophobia and racism expressed through election results and policies around Europe; and of the return of fascism and Nazism. It is this moment that has prompted González-Ruibal et al. (above) to call for a new, politicised archaeology. In so doing, they urge archaeologists to abandon the soothing liberal but ineffective embrace of communities and the public. They also argue against identitarian politics and the discourse of apolitical and abstract multiculturalism. I am in broad agreement with them, and called some years ago for a shift from ethics to politics, and for an explicit, public political stance (Hamilakis 2007). If the politicisation of archaeology was important 10 years ago, it is much more urgent now.



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Baldwin, J. 2010. The cross of redemption: uncollected writings. New York: Random House.
Hamilakis, Y. 2007. From ethics to politics, in Hamilakis, Y. & Duke, P. (ed.) Archaeology and capitalism: from ethics to politics: 1540. Walnut Creek (CA): Left Coast.
Hamilakis, Y. 2013. Archaeology and the senses: human experience, memory, and affect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hamilakis, Y. 2016. Archaeologies of forced and undocumented migration. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 3: 121–39.
Hamilakis, Y. 2017. Sensorial assemblages: affect, memory, and temporality in assemblage thinking. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 27: 169–82.
Mbembe, A. 2017. Critique of black reason. Translated and introduction by Dubois, L.. Durham (NC): Duke University Press.
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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