I was invited to be part of a conversation with archaeologists all across the world to think through how the current global pandemic will shape archaeological practice. We published our remarks as guest bloggers for the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
This is the syllabus from 2014. Adjustments will be made for the new project, but the underlying concept remains.
Public Archaeology Practicum
Prof. Anna Agbe-Davies
Office Hours: T 2-4, F 9-10
Anthropology has a long history as an applied discipline, producing insights that are useful in the world as well as in the academy. This graduate course provides an opportunity to explore that dimension of the discipline through readings, seminar discussions, and the completion of an applied group project. Members of this class will engage in ongoing research that uses their anthropological and archaeological training to further the goals of a collaborating community. For Spring 2014, this includes an archaeological study of the “Hogan-Rogers” farm, now owned by St. Paul AME Church.
This course is designed to be relatively horizontal in its organization, and will require substantial input from all members in order to shape the course itself, as well as the final project.
Required readings come primarily from two books, both of which are on reserve in the library. Additional readings are listed in the schedule, below. We will add further readings as the need arises.
Little, Barbara J., ed.
2002 Public Benefits of Archaeology. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Shackel, Paul A., and Erve J. Chambers, eds.
2004 Places in Mind: Public Archaeology as Applied Anthropology. New York: Routledge.
Grades will be based participation, a number of incremental assignments, and a final product. Our activities and outputs may include
- Contributions to the research plan
- Identification of additional reading for the group
- Fieldwork at the site
- An individual research journal (may also use Sakai forums for something similar)
- Analysis of data generated by fieldwork
- An annotated bibliography, in support of the specific needs of the project (may cover topical [e.g. plantation archaeology], methodological [e.g. surface survey], or theoretical [e.g. digital archaeology] themes)
- A final paper, suitable for conference presentation.
- A collectively written website (an expressed interest of the pastor of St. Paul AME)
- A summary presentation (also requested by St. Paul AME)
The weight and form of these activities and outputs will be established collectively early in the semester.
Do note, that while we are each going to have to be unusually adaptable and creative as we participate in this class, this does not mean that anything goes. If anything, we will be more accountable to each other for timely completion and fair distribution of work than in a more typical course.
Session 1: introduction; organization of the course; ethics. Required reading: CITI training; Chambers; Little; Caulkins; SfAA; SAA.
Chambers in Places in Mind (PM)
Little in Public Benefits of Archaeology (PBA)
Session 2: preparing to engage. Required reading: Preservation Society of Chapel Hill; Poole; Orser; Birt; Kuwanwisiwma; Praetzellis.
Preservation Society of Chapel Hill
2012 Hogan-Rogers House Preservation Project. Chapel Hill, NC: Preservation Society of Chapel Hill (Preservation Chapel Hill).
2012 Hogan-Rogers House Research Report. Chapel Hill, NC: Preservation Society of Chapel Hill (Preservation Chapel Hill).
Orser and Birt in PM
Kuwanwisiwma and Praetzellis in PBA
Session 3: applied anthropology. Required: Shackel, Rylko-Bauer, et. al., Recommended: Sanday; Bennett.
Rylko-Bauer, Barbara, Merrill Singer, and John Van Willigen
2006 Reclaiming Applied Anthropology: Its Past, Present, and Future. American Anthropologist 108(1):178-190.
Bennett, John W.
1996 Applied and Action Anthropology. Current Anthropology 36(Supplement):S23-S53.
Sanday, Peggy Reeves
2003 Public Interest Anthropology: A model for engaged social science: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/anthro/CPIA/PAPERS/Chicago.2003.pdf.
Shackel in PM
Session 4: public archaeology—strategies. Required: Lamphere, Watkins et. al., Reeves, Wall et. al., SAA.
2004 The Convergence of Applied, Practicing, and Public Anthropology in the 21st Century. Human Organization 63(4):431-443.
Watkins, Joe, K. Anne Pyburn, and Pam Cressey
2000 Community Relations: What the Practicing Archaeologist Needs to Know to Work Effectively with Local and/or Descendant Communities. In Teaching Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century. S. Bender and G.S. Smith, eds. Pp. 73-81. Washington, D.C.: The Society for American Archaeology.
Reeves in PM
Wall, et. al. in PM
Session 5: public archaeology—theoretical strands. Required: Singer; Potter (x2); McDavid; McKee; Farnsworth; Lipe. Recommended: Leone, et. al. (as background)
Potter, Parker B., Jr.
1991 What is the Use of Plantation Archaeology? Historical Archaeology 25(3):94-107.
1993 “What is the Use of Plantation Archaeology?” No Use at All, if No One Else is Listening! Historical Archaeology 27(1):114-116.
1994 Is It Futile to Try and Be Useful? Historical Archaeology and the African-American Experience. Northeast Historical Archaeology 23:1-7.
Potter, Parker B., Jr.
1994 Critical Theory, Archaeology, and Annapolis. In Public Archaeology in Annapolis: A Critical Approach to History in Maryland’s Ancient City. Pp. 26-44. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
1994 Community-Centered Praxis: Toward an Alternative Non-dominative Applied Anthropology. Human Organization 53(4):336-344.
Leone, Mark P., Parker B. Potter, Jr., and Paul A. Shackel
1987 Toward a Critical Archaeology. Current Anthropology 28(3):283-345.
McDavid in PM
Lipe in PBA
Session 6: heritage needs assessment. Required: Marshall; Hantman; Warner and Baldwin, Mullins
2002 What is community archaeology? World Archaeology 34(2):211-219.
Hantman, Warner and Baldwin, Mullins in PM
Interim sessions TBD
Session 13?: the role of the state. Required: Barile; McManamon; Smith and Ehrenhard.
Barile, Kerri S.
2004 Race, the National Register, and Cultural Resource Management: Creating an Historic Context for Postbellum Sites. Historical Archaeology 38(1):90-100.
McManamon and Smith and Ehrenhard in PBA
Session 14?: further applications. Required: Slick; White; Goddard; Thomas. Recommended: Moyer.
Slick, White, Goddard, and Thomas in PBA
Moyer in PM
Session 15?: writing (for the public). Required: Young; Allen; Fagan.
Young, Allen, and Fagan in PBA
 This schedule is not tied to dates. This sequence is optimal, but we will need to make time for meeting with collaborating organizations/individuals, site visits, etc. We will have more class meetings than the numbered sessions listed here.
 Sometime after this session, we will schedule a meeting or meetings with representatives of St. Paul AME and Preservation Chapel Hill.
 Link no longer active—post to Sakai
 On reserve
 At some point we will need to read this article and commentary: Shannon Lee Dawdy, 2009, Millennial archaeology: Locating the discipline in the age of insecurity. Archaeological Dialogues 16(2):131-142.
Archaeologists and linguists have worked together for many years to understand the origins of Indo-European languages, such as English.
Michigan State University has a terrific campus archaeology program. Recently (during Black History Month) their blog included a post on John Wesley Gilbert, who may have been the first African American with an advanced archaeology degree–I certainly don’t know of any earlier! Archaeology still isn’t very racially diverse, but check out the Society of Black Archaeologists to learn about what his “descendants” are doing.
The presidents of the Society for American Archaeology and American Anthropological Association team up to demonstrate that archaeology and anthropology, far from being “frivolous,” are crucial to understanding our world today. If you agree, let the National Science Foundation know that you support funding for the social sciences!
NPR recently featured a new study about Tilda, an orangutan who makes vocalizations that may mimic human speech. This research has implications for what we think about the language abilities of human ancestors.
The reanalysis of wall paintings found in caves in Indonesia confirms that they are much older than previously thought. This discovery has implications for what we think about when humans first started expressing themselves artistically.
Brett Riggs, in the Research Laboratories of Archaeology recently headed up an excavation on UNC’s campus. Construction at the current President’s House unearthed the remains of an earlier President’s House. It was a great opportunity to delve into the university’s past.