Workshop: Philosophy, Archaeology and Community Perspectives: Finding New Ground

Montag, 22. Oktober 2018
– Dienstag, 23. Oktober 2018

University of Konstanz, V 1001

María Cruz Berrocal, Francesca Biagioli, Barbara Hausmair (all Zukunftskoll.), Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach (apl. Prof., Konstanz)

Western philosophies of different orientations have inputted the theoretical and epistemological construction of archaeology, especially the critical archaeological turn in theory and practice in the last decades. However, some philosophers today are de-constructing some aspects of philosophical thought (such as phenomenology) that informed the work of archaeologists concerned with theoretical issues. As philosophers pursue a globalized philosophy that has sources in non-Western systems of thought and reveals how mainstream philosophy dominates over other traditions and renders them silent or forces them into epistemic obedience, an interesting twist to the relationship between philosophy, theory and archaeology seems to arise and deserves to be studied. Demands to “decolonize” the philosophical canon are now gaining in currency within the discipline, while archaeologists, having gone relatively early through long discussions on Eurocentrism and other adherences to Western narratives, have been re-thinking the world in the last decades with a critical look, using key elements of archaeological studies, i.e. materiality and a long-term perspective, as well as especially relevant case studies, and topics, such as postcolonialism, feminism, and violence.

The aim of this workshop is to shift the focus from epistemological issues, the dominant theme in previous disciplinary engagements, to a different aspect of philosophical studies, namely ethics, which is becoming key in the practice of a highly socially embedded science such as archaeology while also accompanying new attempts from philosophy itself to unmask cultural hegemony. The main tectonic line to follow during the workshop will be the discussion of the tensions arising from a perceived socially responsible research to be carried out among living communities. Are academic accounts still in danger of becoming impositions on local ways of understanding the world, and how? Can archeology and philosophy collaborate to prevent this sort of imposition from happening? How does the social positionality of researchers impact upon their research? How can socially responsible research make room for differences among situated knowers, differences which can be traced back to their social positionality? What is the level of epistemic diversity one should aim for?

Registrations from students, researchers and anyone who is interested in the above topics are welcome. Attendance is free but limited to 25 persons.
To register, please send an e-mail to until 15 October 2018. You will receive a confirmation email or a notification about your name being added to the waiting list.

The event is hosted by the Zukunftskolleg.