Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past

The View from Southern Maryland
Author: Julia A. King
Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press
ISBN: 1572338881
Category: History
Page: 312
View: 3886

Continue Reading →

In this innovative work, Julia King moves nimbly among a variety of sources and disciplinary approaches—archaeological, historical, architectural, literary, and art-historical—to show how places take on, convey, and maintain meanings. Focusing on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, King looks at the ways in which various groups, from patriots and politicians of the antebellum era to present-day archaeologists and preservationists, have transformed key landscapes into historical, indeed sacred, spaces. The sites King examines include the region’s vanishing tobacco farms; St. Mary’s City, established as Maryland’s first capital by English settlers in the seventeenth century; and Point Lookout, the location of a prison for captured Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. As the author explores the historical narratives associated with such places, she uncovers some surprisingly durable myths as well as competing ones. St. Mary’s City, for example, early on became the center of Maryland’s “founding narrative” of religious tolerance, a view commemorated in nineteenth-century celebrations and reflected even today in local museum exhibits and preserved buildings. And at Point Lookout, one private group has established a Confederate Memorial Park dedicated to those who died at the prison, thus nurturing the Lost Cause ideology that arose in the South in the late 1800s, while nearby the custodians of a 1,000-acre state park avoid controversy by largely ignoring the area’s Civil War history, preferring instead to concentrate on recreation and tourism, an unusually popular element of which has become the recounting of ghost stories. As King shows, the narratives that now constitute the public memory in southern Maryland tend to overlook the region’s more vexing legacies, particularly those involving slavery and race. Noting how even her own discipline of historical archaeology has been complicit in perpetuating old narratives, King calls for research—particularly archaeological research—that produces new stories and “counter-narratives” that challenge old perceptions and interpretations and thus convey a more nuanced grasp of a complicated past. Julia A. King is an associate professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she coordinates the Museum Studies Program and directs the SlackWater Center, a consortium devoted to exploring, documenting, and interpreting the changing landscapes of Chesapeake communities. She is also coeditor, with Dennis B. Blanton, of Indian and European Contact in Context: The Mid-Atlantic Region.

Where the Cherry Tree Grew

The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington's Boyhood Home
Author: Philip Levy
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0312641869
Category: History
Page: 260
View: 9304

Continue Reading →

Traces three centuries of history surrounding the first President's childhood home, documenting archaeological discoveries of artifacts and Washington's personal home while citing the region's historical roles as a Civil War battleground and center of debate between land developers and preservationists.

Slavery and Silence

Latin America and the U. S. Slave Debate
Author: Paul D. Naish
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812294300
Category: History
Page: 304
View: 4527

Continue Reading →

In the thirty-five years before the Civil War, it became increasingly difficult for Americans outside the world of politics to have frank and open discussions about the institution of slavery, as divisive sectionalism and heated ideological rhetoric circumscribed public debate. To talk about slavery was to explore--or deny--its obvious shortcomings, its inhumanity, its contradictions. To celebrate it required explaining away the nation's proclaimed belief in equality and its public promise of rights for all, while to condemn it was to insult people who might be related by ties of blood, friendship, or business, and perhaps even to threaten the very economy and political stability of the nation. For this reason, Paul D. Naish argues, Americans displaced their most provocative criticisms and darkest fears about the institution onto Latin America. Naish bolsters this seemingly counterintuitive argument with a compelling focus on realms of public expression that have drawn sparse attention in previous scholarship on this era. In novels, diaries, correspondence, and scientific writings, he contends, the heat and bluster of the political arena was muted, and discussions of slavery staged in these venues often turned their attention south of the Rio Grande. At once familiar and foreign, Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, and the independent republics of Spanish America provided rhetorical landscapes about which everyday citizens could speak, through both outright comparisons or implicit metaphors, what might otherwise be unsayable when talking about slavery at home. At a time of ominous sectional fracture, Americans of many persuasions--Northerners and Southerners, Whigs and Democrats, scholars secure in their libraries and settlers vulnerable on the Mexican frontier--found unity in their disparagement of Latin America. This displacement of anxiety helped create a superficial feeling of nationalism as the country careened toward disunity of the most violent, politically charged, and consequential sort.

The Age of Everything

How Science Explores the Past
Author: Matthew Hedman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226322947
Category: Science
Page: 264
View: 3919

Continue Reading →

Taking advantage of recent advances throughout the sciences, Matthew Hedman brings the distant past closer to us than it has ever been. Here, he shows how scientists have determined the age of everything from the colonization of the New World over 13,000 years ago to the origin of the universe nearly fourteen billion years ago. Hedman details, for example, how interdisciplinary studies of the Great Pyramids of Egypt can determine exactly when and how these incredible structures were built. He shows how the remains of humble trees can illuminate how the surface of the sun has changed over the past ten millennia. And he also explores how the origins of the earth, solar system, and universe are being discerned with help from rocks that fall from the sky, the light from distant stars, and even the static seen on television sets. Covering a wide range of time scales, from the Big Bang to human history, The Age of Everything is a provocative and far-ranging look at how science has determined the age of everything from modern mammals to the oldest stars, and will be indispensable for all armchair time travelers. “We are used to being told confidently of an enormous, measurable past: that some collection of dusty bones is tens of thousands of years old, or that astronomical bodies have an age of some billions. But how exactly do scientists come to know these things? That is the subject of this quite fascinating book. . . . As told by Hedman, an astronomer, each story is a marvel of compressed exegesis that takes into account some of the most modern and intriguing hypotheses.”—Steven Poole, Guardian “Hedman is worth reading because he is careful to present both the power and peril of trying to extract precise chronological data. These are all very active areas of study, and as you read Hedman you begin to see how researchers have to be both very careful and incredibly audacious, and how much of our understanding of ourselves—through history, through paleontology, through astronomy—depends on determining the age of everything.”—Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe

Extremism, Ancient and Modern

Insurgency, Terror and Empire in the Middle East
Author: Sandra Scham
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 135184654X
Category: Social Science
Page: 212
View: 6294

Continue Reading →

Near Eastern archaeology is generally represented as a succession of empires with little attention paid to the individuals, labelled as terrorists at the time, that brought them down. Their stories, when viewed against the backdrop of current violent extremism in the Middle East, can provide a unique long-term perspective. Extremism, Ancient and Modern brings long-forgotten pasts to bear on the narratives of radical groups today, recognizing the historical bases and specific cultural contexts for their highly charged ideologies. The author, with expertise in Middle Eastern archaeology and counter-terrorism work, provides a unique viewpoint on a relatively under-researched subject. This timely volume will interest a wide readership, from undergraduate and graduate students of archaeology, history and politics, to a general audience with an interest in the deep historical narratives of extremism and their impact on today’s political climate.

Before California

An Archaeologist Looks at Our Earliest Inhabitants
Author: Brian M. Fagan
Publisher: Rowman Altamira
ISBN: 9780759103740
Category: Social Science
Page: 400
View: 4276

Continue Reading →

What did California look like before Hollywood? Before the Gold Rush? Before the missions? Brian Fagan, the best known popular archaeology writer in America, is your tour guide on a fascinating trip across the Golden State before the arrival of Europeans. Fagan tells of the first groups who drifted into the state over 13,000 years ago and how their descendants used the land and sea to survive in a fragile environment subject to earthquake, drought, and flood. On your tour, you will visit the shellmounds of San Francisco Bay, salmon trappers of the northern streams, acorn gatherers of the Central Valley, Chumash villages on the Santa Barbara coast, and shamans who painted mysterious figures on stone. Fagan shows how archaeologists scientifically reconstruct this lost history from fragments of bone, shell, and stone, from travellers' and scholars' descriptions of vanished peoples, and from the stories told by the tribal members themselves. Join a famous archaeologist on this captivating journey and find out what important lessons this story has for California's future.

Rethinking Colonial Pasts Through Archaeology


Author: Neal Ferris,Rodney Harrison,Michael V. Wilcox,Michael Vincent Wilcox
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199696691
Category: Social Science
Page: 511
View: 1417

Continue Reading →

Rethinking Colonial Pasts Through Archaeology explores the archaeologies of daily living left by the indigenous and other displaced peoples impacted by European colonial expansion over the last 600 years. It presents alternative understandings of the rise of European colonization in its shaping of global histories from the last half millennium through archaeological findings, while revising conceptual frameworks for archaeology itself.

Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad

The Geography of Resistance
Author: Cheryl Janifer LaRoche
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 0252095898
Category: Social Science
Page: 224
View: 808

Continue Reading →

This enlightening study employs the tools of archaeology to uncover a new historical perspective on the Underground Railroad. Unlike previous histories of the Underground Railroad, which have focused on frightened fugitive slaves and their benevolent abolitionist accomplices, Cheryl LaRoche focuses instead on free African American communities, the crucial help they provided to individuals fleeing slavery, and the terrain where those flights to freedom occurred. This study foregrounds several small, rural hamlets on the treacherous southern edge of the free North in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. LaRoche demonstrates how landscape features such as waterways, iron forges, and caves played a key role in the conduct and effectiveness of the Underground Railroad. Rich in oral histories, maps, memoirs, and archaeological investigations, this examination of the "geography of resistance" tells the new powerful and inspiring story of African Americans ensuring their own liberation in the midst of oppression.

Archaeologists as Activists

Can Archaeologists Change the World?
Author: M. Jay Stottman
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 0817356223
Category: Social Science
Page: 207
View: 3531

Continue Reading →

A series of essays examines the ways in which archaeologists can and do use their research into the distant past to help solve the problems of today and beyond. Simultaneous.

True Story of Pocahontas

The Other Side of History
Author: Dr. Linwood "Little Bear" Custalow
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
ISBN: 1555918670
Category: History
Page: 168
View: 5074

Continue Reading →

The True Story of Pocahontas is the first public publication of the Powhatan perspective that has been maintained and passed down from generation to generation within the Mattaponi Tribe, and the first written history of Pocahontas by her own people.

The Political Museum

Power, Conflict, and Identity in Cyprus
Author: Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert,Alexandra Bounia
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315521032
Category: Social Science
Page: 274
View: 3408

Continue Reading →

This engaging volume reveals how politics permeates all facets of museum practice, particularly in regions of political conflict. In these settings, museums can be extraordinarily influential for shaping identity and collective memory and for peace building. Using key Cypriote archaeological, historical, ethnographic, and art museums as examples, this book: provides a multifaceted and deeper understanding of how politics, conflict, national agendas, and individual initiatives can shape museums and their narratives; discusses how these forces contribute to the creation of, and conflict over, national, community and personal identities; examines how museums use inclusion and exclusion in their collections, exhibitions, objects and interpretive material as a way of selectively constructing collective memories. This book will be an important resource for museum professionals, as well as scholars interested in the effects of politics on museums and interpretations of the past.

Jacksonland

President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
Author: Steve Inskeep
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 014310831X
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 448
View: 8207

Continue Reading →

"Five decades after the Revolutionary War, the United States approached a constitutional crisis. At its center stood two former military comrades locked in a struggle that tested the boundaries of our fledgling democracy. One man we recognize: Andrew Jackson -- war hero, populist, and exemplar of the expanding South -- whose first major initiative as President instigated the massive expulsion of Native Americans known as the Trail of Tears. The other is a half-forgotten figure: John Ross -- a mixed-race Cherokee politician and diplomat -- who used the United States' own legal system and democratic ideals to oppose Jackson. Representing one of the Five Civilized Tribes who had adopted the ways of white settlers -- cultivating farms, publishing a newspaper in their own language, and sending children to school -- Ross championed the tribes' cause all the way to the Supreme Court. He gained allies like Senator Henry Clay, Chief Justice John Marshall, and even Davy Crockett. In a fight that seems at once distant and familiar, Ross and his allies made their case in the media, committed civil disobedience, and benefited from the first mass political action by American women. At stake in this struggle was the land of the Five Civilized Tribes. Jacksonland reveals how Jackson, as a general, extracted immense wealth from his own armies' conquest of native lands. Later, as president, Jackson set in motion the seizure of tens of millions of acres in today's Deep South. This is the story of America at a moment of transition, when the fate of states and nations was decided by the actions of two opposed men."--Jacket.

World's Fair Gardens

Shaping American Landscapes
Author: Cathy Jean Maloney
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780813933115
Category: Architecture
Page: 244
View: 7934

Continue Reading →

As showcases for dramatic changes in garden style and new technology, world’s fairs offered leading landscape designers and nurserymen the chance to tempt visitors to try new garden trends in backyards across the nation. From horticultural innovations to new landscape styles, the wonders displayed at these fairs had a distinct influence on America’s largest urban parks. In World’s Fair Gardens, Cathy Jean Maloney offers a lavishly illustrated exploration of the gardens and grounds of America’s nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century world’s fairs. Maloney describes the landscapes of nine of America’s great fairs from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia to the 1940 World’s Fair of Tomorrow in New York, many of whose legacies are still evident. The fairs also created an arena for intense competition among nations. Foreign plant introductions included English rhododendrons in Philadelphia, Mexican cacti in New Orleans, and Japanese gardens at nearly all the fairs, a feat considering the formidable challenge of shipping live plants great distances in those times. Maloney also explores innovations from the "glazeless putty system" greenhouse in 1884 and cold storage systems in 1904 to modernistic glass fences in 1940. Complete with more than 50 color and 70 black-and-white illustrations, World’s Fair Gardens will appeal to historians, gardeners, urban planners, landscape architects, public park advocates, preservationists, and anyone interested in the history of these global festivals. Supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

Slavery's Exiles

The Story of the American Maroons
Author: Sylviane A. Diouf
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 081472437X
Category: History
Page: 403
View: 5103

Continue Reading →

Over more than two centuries men, women, and children escaped from slavery to make the Southern wilderness their home. They hid in the mountains of Virginia and the low swamps of South Carolina; they stayed in the neighborhood or paddled their way to secluded places; they buried themselves underground or built comfortable settlements. Known as maroons, they lived on their own or set up communities in swamps or other areas where they were not likely to be discovered. Although well-known, feared, celebrated or demonized at the time, the maroons whose stories are the subject of this book have been forgotten, overlooked by academic research that has focused on the Caribbean and Latin America. Who the American maroons were, what led them to choose this way of life over alternatives, what forms of marronage they created, what their individual and collective lives were like, how they organized themselves to survive, and how their particular story fits into the larger narrative of slave resistance are questions that this book seeks to answer. To survive, the American maroons reinvented themselves, defied slave society, enforced their own definition of freedom and dared create their own alternative to what the country had delineated as being black men and women’s proper place. Audacious, self-confident, autonomous, sometimes self-sufficient, always self-governing; their very existence was a repudiation of the basic tenets of slavery.