ARCHY 467, Fall 2009
Research Ethics in Archaeology
Instructor: Alison Wylie
Office: Savery Hall M396
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00-3:30 / by appointment
M / W 6:00-8:20, Savery 162
NOV 16/18: Missing week plans
- revisit Warren and Brown for further discussion: in particular, let's discuss the alternative, "civil" (vs legal) framework for addressing "cultural property" issues that they advocate, and consider what assumptions these presuppose.
- read one additional chapter from _Cultural Appropriation_: Coleman and Coombs, "Broken Record" (I'll attach this one)
As a jumping-off point for this discussion on Monday, either bring or describe some piece of "material culture" that is important to you; is its significance captured by the kinds of interests described by Warren, Brown, or others we've been reading?
First essay discussions:
Do please send the members of your presentation group a copy of your first essay, and read each others' essays with an eye to discussing, on Monday:
- what possibilities you see for building on / refining / extending the conceptual analysis each of you have developed in this first paper;
- how this analysis relates to the cases or concrete examples we've been discussing.
OCT 6: We have a new seminar room: Savery 162. To get into Savery Hall after 5:00 pm you'll need to use one of the main entrances (across from Kane Hall or facing the quad).
OCT 4: Also, rather than fix a "reading response" rotation for the whole quarter, you should each chose one of the next two weeks to write your first reading response, and then sign up for two additional weeks later in the quarter when you give me preferences for your presentation topics. Sign-up sheets will be posted shortly.
Archaeological practice raises a number of challenging ethics issues. With the majority of practicing archaeologists now employed in private industry (contract archaeology) or the public sector (culture resource management), archaeologists find themselves caught between the goals and standards of their profession and the demands of diverse employers, oversight agencies, and stakeholders. Further conflicts arise between research goals and the commitments entailed by a conservation ethic: these are especially sharply drawn in debate about the professional use of looted or commercially traded material. But most urgent and most transformative are the issues of accountability raised by descendant communities, especially Indigenous and First Nations communities who regard archaeological sites and artifacts as part of their cultural heritage and often see little value in archaeological research. An ethic of stewardship has been proposed in response to these issues; one central aim of this course is to critically assess the implications of stewardship ideals for archaeological practice.
To establish a framework for addressing this broad range of issues, we begin with readings that situate the development of archaeological ethics principles and codes of conductand especially the ethic of stewardship adopted by the Society for American Archaeology in 1996in the context of broader debate about research integrity and accountability in science and the professions. To see how principles of archaeological ethics play out in practice we turn to case-based analyses of specific issues that are an immediate concern for archaeologists working at home and abroad: archaeological responses to looting and commercial trade in antiquities; the implications of a conservation ethic for archaeological practice; the conflicts archaeologists negotiate in connection with the demands of professional practice; and, most importantly, issues of accountability to descendant communities and to communities affected by archaeological research.
A detailed list of weekly readings is available in the course syllabus: follow this link for a downloadable PDF.
The following texts are available in the bookstore:
Participation and presentations (20% of the final grade):
Written assignments (80% of the final grade):
Send mail to: Contact Email
Last modified: 11/11/2009 12:48 AM