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Plastic entering the archaeological and geological record may be the defining signature of the Anthropocene. Amidst the growing awareness of the role of plastic in marine pollution, this study demonstrates its terrestrial ubiquity. The excavation of two experimentally reconstructed roundhouses built on their original sites at Castell Henllys Iron Age fort, Wales, reveals evidence of 30 years of heritage interpretation and visitor activity. The nature and extent of the cultural material recovered accurately reflects known activities at this heritage site, but also reveals an unexpected amount of plastic debris in archaeological contexts, indicating how, even in well-managed contexts, plastic is entering terrestrial deposits.
In May 2019 we launched a special exhibition at the Uganda Museum in Kampala titled “The Unseen Archive of Idi Amin.” It consisted of 150 images made by government photographers in the 1970s. In this essay we explore how political history has been delimited in the Museum, and how these limitations shaped the exhibition we curated. From the time of its creation, the Museum's disparate and multifarious collections were exhibited as ethnographic specimens, stripped of historical context. Spatially and organizationally, “The Unseen Archive of Idi Amin” turned its back on the ethnographic architecture of the Uganda Museum. The transformation of these vivid, evocative, aesthetically appealing photographs into historical evidence of atrocity was intensely discomfiting. We have been obliged to organize the exhibition around categories that did not correspond with the logic of the photographic archive, with the architecture of the Museum, or with the experiences of the people who lived through the 1970s. The exhibition has made history, but not entirely in ways that we chose.
Since the nineteenth century, today's South and Southeast Asia have become part of scholarly and popular geographies that define the region as a single, superior, civilization with Hindu-Buddhist spiritual traits and its origins in India. These moral geographies of “Greater India” are still current in universities, museums, textbooks, and popular culture across the world. This article explores, for the period from the 1890s to the 1960s, how networks of scholars, intellectuals, and art collectors linking Indonesia, mainland Asia, and the West helped shaping these moral geographies and enabled the inclusion of predominantly Islamic Indonesia. It contributes to recent debates on the role of religion and affections in Orientalism by following object-biographies and focusing on knowledge exchange via the networks they connected, and by exploring the possibilities, violence, and limits of cultural understanding as objects travel from their sites of origin to elsewhere in the world. The article conceptualizes moral geographies as a heuristic device to understand how people have imagined their belonging to a transnational space—in this case Greater India—whether they live inside or outside of that space. It examines the impact these moral geographies have on processes of inclusion and exclusion, particularly their common disregard for Indonesia's Islamic cultures. It warns against pitfalls of transnational, “Oceanic” approaches to Asian history that focus on cultural flows, as these can exaggerate the region's cultural unity and, in doing so, reify the moral geographies of Greater India that the article interrogates.
The centenary commemorations of the 1916 rebellion, heavily scripted by the official state policies of 2016, has, mainly through the uncritical recycling of pious commonplaces, fixed a specific interpretation of the event in the public memory: a Rising timed to coincide with that of Christ, involving Pearse reading out a proclamation from the GPO steps and canonized by Yeats’s poem as to its utterly transformative effect. This chapter deconstructs these commonplaces and traces their banal-nationalistic effect on the public commemorations.
It is increasingly acknowledged that 21st-century archaeology faces serious challenges from a variety of directions, ranging from the theoretical to the practical. Above all, the discipline’s entanglement with capitalism, capitalist ideologies and capitalist institutions is simply unsustainable. The concept of degrowth involves a reconceptualization of archaeology’s possible future(s) in terms of a withdrawal from capitalism and an emphasis on collective and caring praxis looking towards both a sustainable future and the possibilities of the immediate present. A degrowth approach to archaeology can provide a useful supplement to existing critiques and proposed alternatives to current practices. Degrowth proposals such as reorienting economic behaviours towards cooperative, convivial and dépense (communal use of surplus) activities while freeing people to pursue work they find meaningful have potential applications in archaeological practice that address some of the problems currently facing the discipline.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was founded in 1988 to provide governments with policy-relevant assessments of climate science as well as options for adaptation and mitigation. It is now recognized as providing the leading global compilation of climate science, adaptation, and mitigation research. The volunteer scientists who write these reports have carried out five complete assessment cycles, with the sixth cycle to be completed in 2022. Here, we review how information from and about archaeology and other forms of cultural heritage has been incorporated into these reports to date. Although this review shows that archaeology has not been wholly absent from work of the IPCC, we suggest that archaeology has more to offer the IPCC and global climate response. We propose five ways to more fully engage both archaeologists and knowledge from and about the human past in IPCC assessments and reports.
Addressing recent screen productions of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice (dir. Langton, BBC1, 1995; dir. Wright, 2005), and 1815 novel Emma (dir. Lawrence, ITV, 1996; dir. McGrath, 1996), Maribeth Clark explores the function of music, dance, drama and visuals in specific danced divertissements. She focuses on choreographed versions of social dance scenes set to the late-seventeenth-century music of Henry Purcell and his contemporaries up to the late eighteenth century. Her chapter describes an impulse towards unity and congruence, towards the establishment of a stable repertoire, a conservative tradition – a canon that builds on the work of those involved in the twentieth-century English country dance revival.
This essay explores the life experiences that shaped the political work of Lucretia del Valle Grady. Born in California at the turn of the twentieth century, del Valle Grady traced her lineage to early California Spanish-Mexican settlers. She came of age in the emerging metropolis of Los Angeles and closely witnessed her father's, Reginaldo del Valle, own political career evolve. After a successful acting career, Lucretia left Los Angeles to study in New York and took part in suffrage efforts. While suffrage occupies a center role in understanding women's political work, this essay shows that suffrage functioned as a stepping stone between formidable political experiences. By decentering suffrage, this profile traces the vast scope of del Valle Grady's life of political engagement.
The conclusion reviews the principle arguments of the book as part of a coda which reflects on how and why the post-revolutionary culture of collecting was redefined in the final decade of the nineteenth century. A combination of new intellectual paradigms, changes in museum funding and the growing weight of the transatlantic market undercut private collectors’ claims to be stewards of French heritage. Yet amidst these changes the conclusion stresses continuities in how the amateur was conceived in tension with the bureaucratic state, and a study of major donations at the close of the nineteenth century- such as that of Eugène Piot- underlines the persistence of aristocratic forms of distinction within the support given to republican institutions. Challenging conventional narratives about the birth of a uniform national heritage, the book concludes by arguing for the resilience of private patrimony outside of state control.
Chapter 1 traces the transformation of the art market across the revolutionary era, drawing on recent scholarship to consider how the French Revolution changed the availability of artworks and the cultural meanings attached to their preservation. These processes are observed through the writings of Pierre-Marie Gault de Saint-Germain, whose manuscripts and publications documented the demise of the old regime of curiosity he knew in his youth. The introduction argues that the eclipse of corporate institutions and the attack on the privileged orders changed the meaning of collecting by opening the title of amateur to much wider social constituency whilst nonetheless retaining the idea that the correct exercise of taste was even more important in the disorderly new circumstances. The chapter traces the emergence of dealers in art and curiosities across post-revolutionary Paris and argues that the revamped category of the amateur was simultaneously dependent upon but hostile to these new commercial forces.
This chapter describes the role of private individuals who aimed to collect the traces of the French Revolution amidst the tumultuous events. It is centred on the figure of Jean-Louis Soulavie, and his unique collection of prints and drawings, now split between the Louvre and regional archives. It discusses how Soulavie acquired and interpreted this corpus of images, drawing connections with his changing political convictions, and the different functions ascribed to the image, including the commemorative (especially for victims of the Terror), the explanatory (seeking to understand the cause-and-effect of revolutionary processes) and the predictive (echoing Soulavie’s belief in the occult power of images). It connects Soulavie’s engagement with visual culture with other aspects of his collecting and considers the dispersal of many cabinets assembled by this first generation of collector-historians during the Restoration.
From 1900 the potato began to regain its lustre as a political instrument. Developments within nutritional science led dieticians to reverse their earlier condemnations. This reversal coincided with an increase in the capacity of modern states to influence everyday eating habits. The First and Second World Wars were particularly important in developing the technologies and institutions that made this possible. Concerned to provide for the wartime needs of their populations, European governments actively encouraged potato consumption. Nonetheless, the economic development models that emerged in the post-war years paid little attention to potatoes. Only recently has smallholder agriculture been incorporated into international models of food security. Just as the peasant know-how that spread potato cultivation across early modern Europe remained largely invisible, so the smallholder expertise that allowed the potato to preserve its genetic diversity has only begun to be appreciated by international development organisations. Potatoes have also become a source of gastronomic pride; many countries have registered specific varieties as part of their national patrimony. The contemporary history of the potato recapitulates both the eighteenth-century conviction that potatoes could play a role in national security, and also the reality that small farmers, as well as agronomists, possess expertise relevant to building a viable food system.
The Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune 1870-71 exercised a dramatic impact on the rhetoric around private collecting, this chapter suggests. It examines why conservative collectors such as baron Jérôme Pichon felt that they were personally under attack as the city was shelled and burned during the année terrible, and suggests that heritage became intensely politicised, as radicals were blamed for repeating the vandalism previously seen in the Revolution of 1789. The chapter emphasis the emergence of a belligerent branch of art history written by Pichon’s associations- like Louis Courajod and baron Charles Davillier- and stresses that conservative collectors took their vision of the past into the public sphere through the vibrant culture of temporary exhibitions which emerged under the Second Empire. Through the figure of baron Léopold Double, it explores the cult of the old regime created by royalists but also argues that this cult proved very unstable in the new political and economic circumstances of the 1880s.
This introduction positions the book in terms of three key concepts for the nineteenth century: collecting; historical consciousness; and the legacies of the French Revolution. In each case it surveys the relevant scholarship and identifies how this project seeks to offer a fresh perspective on how the circulation and recuperation of objects was central in forging new kinds of historical consciousness in the post-revolutionary era. It argues for the enduring endurance of private collectors within the French public sphere, in contrast to the assumptions that their contribution was increasingly marginal. It suggests that the expanding market for antiques was central in allowing new ways of possessing and imagining the past and insists on the need to re-inscribe the role of private donors and collectors within debates about the shaping of a national heritage (le patrimoine). The introduction also justifies the parameters of the project- geographically and chronologically- and briefly sketches the outline of the following chapters.
Offering a broad and vivid survey of the culture of collecting from the French Revolution to the Belle Époque, The Purchase of the Past explores how material things became a central means of accessing and imagining the past in nineteenth-century France. By subverting the monarchical establishment, the French Revolution not only heralded the dawn of the museum age, it also threw an unprecedented quantity of artworks into commercial circulation, allowing private individuals to pose as custodians and saviours of the endangered cultural inheritance. Through their common itineraries, erudition and sociability, an early generation of scavengers established their own form of 'private patrimony', independent from state control. Over a century of Parisian history, Tom Stammers explores collectors' investments – not just financial but also emotional and imaginative – in historical artefacts, as well as their uncomfortable relationship with public institutions. In so doing, he argues that private collections were a critical site for salvaging and interpreting the past in a post-revolutionary society, accelerating but also complicating the development of a shared national heritage.
This article discusses the American Compañía Stanford’s efforts to drill an oil well on the outskirts of the archaeological site of El Tajín, Mexico, during the 1930s. Drawing on recent scholarly efforts to think beyond archaeology and the nation state, this article problematizes the notion of a unitary state behind the concept of nationalist archaeology, the constitution of archaeology and extractive industry as separate spheres, and their apparent mutual exclusivity. Exploring the negotiations between site guards, archaeologists, inspectors, oil company officials and labourers shows that different state actors worked at cross-purposes, and that the nominally separate spheres of nationalist archaeology and foreign oil extraction were in fact characterized by the sharing of infrastructure, equipment, expertise and labour. Consequently, this article advocates for close attention to the administration and management of archaeology in specific historical contexts, demonstrating that it is more reasonable to assume archaeology’s imbrications with the nation state and extractive industries.
After the last damaging earthquake in 2012, an anti-seismic reinforcement project of the cathedral of Modena was designed giving us the opportunity to investigate and date the building materials. Radiocarbon (14C), optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), and thermoluminescence (TL) dating techniques were performed on the vaults with the aim to (1) clarify the construction timing, (2) define the history of the restorations, and (3) explore the possible correlation of the main restoration works to the earthquake chronology deduced from the historic catalog. Preliminary results show that medieval older bricks were reused for most of the original construction. Only lime and non-gypsum mortar was used for the original construction in the 15th century and for later repair of damage caused by earthquakes in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gypsum mortar was used for later repair in the 18th century. The results show much stronger damage due to earthquakes than previously thought.
The final chapter discusses Bandmann’s legacy and his rapid disappearance from the theatre-historical record. It argues that Bandmann’s reliance on heterophilic networks had a detrimental effect on his long-term legacy and place in theatre-historical memory. The only existing testimony to his cultural memory is the Royal Opera House in Mumbai, which because of its recent renovation has led to a resurgence of interest in the building and by association with Bandmann in India. The chapter also explores how former Bandmann employees maintained parts of his network after his premature death in 1922 and were instrumental in supporting the careers of Indian dancers such as Uday Shankar and Menaka. The final section discusses the research methods and journeys that lie beyond a ten-year research project, emphasizing the importance of digitized resources such as historical newspapers.
In this article I review 11 books published since 2010 that bring the ‘material turn’ to classics. Some start from emic ancient perspectives on matter and materiality; others take their cue from current theoretical models such as those of the new materialisms. All offer new insights into our relationship with the material world and consider the material object as active within different paradigms. In reviewing these important volumes together, I question entrenched boundaries: from those between (sub-)disciplines to those between human and non-human agents. I explore the material turn not as an isolated phenomenon, but, first, as a cyclical ‘re’-turn and, second, as an integrated set of ideas incorporating (to name but a few strands) aesthetics, cognitive humanities, embodiment, affect and the senses. The books reviewed range from literary studies to archaeology to art history to material culture to heritage. Taken together, they set new directions for classics, and indeed for our thinking about our place in the world.