Decolonizing Indigenous Histories: Exploring Prehistoric/Colonial Transitions in Archaeology

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Maxine Oland, Siobhan M. Hart, Liam Frink
University of Arizona Press, Dec 6, 2012 - Social Science - 312 pages
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Decolonizing Indigenous Histories makes a vital contribution to the decolonization of archaeology by recasting colonialism within long-term indigenous histories. Showcasing case studies from Africa, Australia, Mesoamerica, and North and South America, this edited volume highlights the work of archaeologists who study indigenous peoples and histories at multiple scales.

The contributors explore how the inclusion of indigenous histories, and collaboration with contemporary communities and scholars across the subfields of anthropology, can reframe archaeologies of colonialism. The cross-cultural case studies employ a broad range of methodological strategies—archaeology, ethnohistory, archival research, oral histories, and descendant perspectives—to better appreciate processes of colonialism. The authors argue that these more complicated histories of colonialism contribute not only to understandings of past contexts but also to contemporary social justice projects.

In each chapter, authors move beyond an academic artifice of “prehistoric” and “colonial” and instead focus on longer sequences of indigenous histories to better understand colonial contexts. Throughout, each author explores and clarifies the complexities of indigenous daily practices that shape, and are shaped by, long-term indigenous and local histories by employing an array of theoretical tools, including theories of practice, agency, materiality, and temporality.

Included are larger integrative chapters by Kent Lightfoot and Patricia Rubertone, foremost North American colonialism scholars who argue that an expanded global perspective is essential to understanding processes of indigenous-colonial interactions and transitions.

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Global Pathways to Decolonizing Indigenous Histories in Archaeology
Part I Beyond Dichotomies and Colonial Categories
Part II Scales of Transitions
Found in Transitions
About the Editors
About the Contributors

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About the author (2012)

Maxine Oland is a visiting lecturer in anthropology at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Siobhan M. Hart is an assistant professor of anthropology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Liam Frink is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the co-editor of the University of Arizona Press book series The Archaeology of Colonialism in Native North America.

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