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80th ICREA Colloquium "Archaeology and Colonialism: multiple perspectives" by Margarita Diaz-Andreu


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ICREA Research Professor Margarita Díaz-Andreu exposes how Archaeology has come a long way from its origins as a colonial discipline to a more recent self-criticism and scrutiny in the wake of anti, post- and de-colonial thought. Beyond archaeologists' explicit unapologetic collaboration with colonialism during the 19th and most of the 20th centuries, an exploration of the effect of colonialism in archaeology reveals a myriad of other aspects in which archaeology became deeply entangled with what at first sight could be considered as a mere political and economic practice. Her own archaeological projects in the Mariana Islands (western Pacific) and the history of archaeological practice are brought to illustrate some of the issues raised.

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80th ICREA Colloquium "Archaeology and Colonialism: multiple perspectives" by Margarita Diaz-Andreu

  1. 1. Archaeology and Colonialism: Multiple Perspectives (II) Margarita Díaz-Andreu ICREA, UB ICREA colloquium Archaeology and Colonialism: multiple perspectives 23 January 2018
  2. 2. Archaeology Colonialism Critical analysis of the history of archaeolgy Past material culture PERSPECTIVE OF THIS TALK
  3. 3. 2009 – Historical dictionary 2011- Postcolonialismo y Arqueología 2012 2009 – Gordon Childe 2012 2013 The Ethics of Arch Tourism 2007 2016 Some of my work on the history of archaeology…
  4. 4. 2018 My talk today is based on an article that will be published shortly
  5. 5. “Historians [and archaeologists!] are to nationalism what poppy-growers in Pakistan are to heroin addicts. We supply the essential raw material for the market” (Eric Hobsbawm 1993: 3) Let me start with a quotation…
  6. 6. But… why I am talking about nationalism if the colloquium is about colonialism?
  7. 7. New Imperialism
  8. 8. Archaeology is not value-free discipline • It is widely accepted today that archaeology is not the value-free, neutral social science it was previously thought to be • nationalism (Díaz-Andreu 2007 – A world history of 19th c archaeology. OUP): – stimulated the very creation of archaeology as a discipline – informed the organisation of archaeological knowledge – guided its very infrastructure • New Imperialism? / Colonialism
  9. 9. Industrialisation / capitalism need for - new markets - cheap labour nationalism What was new in New Imperialism
  10. 10. 19th century EMPIRES • United Kingdom • France • Russia • US EMP. IN DECLINE • (Ottoman Empire) • (Austria- Hungary) EXTINGUISHED • Spain • Portugal • The Netherlands • Denmark COLONIAL POWERS IN THE NEW IMPERIAL ERA (1800-1900)
  11. 11. 19th century G I J Imperial centre COLONIAL POWERS IN THE NEW IMPERIAL ERA (1900-1945) • United Kingdom • France • Russia • US At the very end • Germany • Italy • Japan 1900-1945
  12. 12. Archaeology and colonialism • Did colonialism stimulated the very creation of archaeology as a discipline? NO (it was nationalism) • Did colonialism informed the organization of archaeological knowledge? • Discourses • Subaltern • Hegemony • Resistance – Did it guided its infrastr.? Earlier in this presentation…
  13. 13. Discourse - progress as the motor of historic development ‘What early man must have been like’. A late 19th c studio portrait of Australian Aborigines
  14. 14. discourses and networks of communication International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archaeology 1906. Monaco Journals Specialised congresses
  15. 15. Classical material culture as the model for any other monument Discourses and models Borobudur. Indonesia Parthenon. Greece
  16. 16. Subaltern (‘of inferior rank’) Archaeologists in the imperial metropolises … vs archaeologists in the colonies Hozmuzd Rassam (1826-1910) Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) Budge,Wallis (1857-1934)
  17. 17. Auguste Mariette (1821–81) director of Egyptian Antiquities Museum director Ahmed Pasha Kamal (1851-1923) 1st Egyptian curator at the Museum of Antiquities Museum of Antiquities. Cairo. 1878
  18. 18. Hegemony (domination by consent) and resistance Osman Hamdi_Bey (1842-1910) Museum Director Organised legislation to ban the export of antiquities
  19. 19. Raden Saleh (1811-1880) Indonesia Rajendra Lal Mitra (1822–91), the first of India’s Sanskritist
  20. 20. Did colonialism guided the infrastructure for arch created in the colonial world? MUSEUMS(LEARNED SOCIETIES) HERITAGE ADMINISTRATION UNIVERSITIES Legislation (foreign schools) journals conferences
  21. 21. Yes, but different patterns of institutionalisation Archaeological Survey of India Foreign School (EFEO) Society Museum
  22. 22. National Museum of Batavia (Jakarta) (Indonesia). 1868
  23. 23. Administration of Archaeology Archaeological Service of India. Created in 1861 Alexander Cunningham Archaeological Service of the Netherland Indies. Established in 1913 Nicolaas Johannes Krom (1883-1945)
  24. 24. Foreign schools Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), founded in Saigon in 1900
  25. 25. Colonies – a multiple meaning • So far I have been talking about the archaeology in the formal colonies • However there are other types of colonies – Informal colonialism – Internal colonialism
  26. 26. Informal colonialism • Informal imperialism—i.e. the cultural imperialism exerted by the European powers over other parts of the world that are politically independent Emil Hübner (1834-1901) Albertini, Eugene (1880-1941) Pierre Paris (1859-1931) • Spain as an example
  27. 27. But a country can be colonised and be a colonial power at the same time!
  28. 28. Internal colonialism • DEF - the Europeans’ settling in territories, already dwelt in by non-state societies, whose rights to the land – and to the history of that land – are not considered • Examples: – Lack of development of archaeology in the US (anthropology is enough) – Archaeological remains go to Natural History museums
  29. 29. Internal colonialism – example in Latin America (excavations without permission of local owners) (Ganger 2010)
  30. 30. Gregorio Chil y Naranjo at El Museo Canario Antiquities room at La Cosmológica (La Palma)
  31. 31. What happened after decolonisation? • India & Pakistan (1947), Burma & Ceylon (1948), Indonesia (1949), French colonies (1950s and early 1960s) • Cold War: Korean War (50-53), Vietnam (55-75) • transition from imperialism to nationalism • reverse reading of the imperial narrative nationalist reading of the new nations' past
  32. 32. Nigerian politician, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa - the first (and last) prime minister after Nigeria's independence in 1960 our antiquities and traditional arts are Nigerian.... [O]wing to the absence of written records, the old arts of Nigeria represent a large part of the evidence of our history, it is necessary to protect and preserve our history and artistic relics because of their importance to Nigeria and in order that our people today and in the future may study and get inspiration from them Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912-1966) From colonialism to nationalism
  33. 33. Nationalism and the language of the past • For a nation to have a future it needs to have a past • The new countries kept the colonial boundaries • The basic frame of the historical (and archaeological) accounts built during colonialism was kept • As the past in malleable, the way in which the historical building was interpreted changed after decolonisation
  34. 34. If the past is subject to cultural interpretation Is archaeological knowledge reliable?
  35. 35. Is it more reliable than this?
  36. 36. Archaeology’s value • Archaeology is a scientific discipline • It aims to interpret past material culture with as much honesty and care as evidence allows • Rigorous methods: excavation, analysis, experimentation ... • Can we have definitive answers? No. There is a limit on what archaeologists can say about the past
  37. 37. Why is history of archaeology useful? • To be aware of the historical baggage that archaeology has • To try to minimize its impact, thanks to academic criticism • To encourage self-criticism, analyse ourselves as historical figures and try to minimize the impact of our own identities, including national and post- colonial identities.