Surface assemblages. Towards an archaeology in and of the present

  title={Surface assemblages. Towards an archaeology in and of the present},
  author={Rodney Harrison},
  journal={Archaeological Dialogues},
  pages={141 - 161}
Abstract This paper explores a central paradox in the aims of the archaeology of the contemporary past as they have been articulated by its practitioners. On the one hand, its aim has been expressed as one of making the familiar ‘unfamiliar’, of distancing the observer from their own material world; a work of alienation. On the other hand, it has also aimed to make the past more accessible and egalitarian; to recover lost, subaltern voices and in this way to close the distance between past and… Expand
On the object of archaeology
Abstract The paper ponders the object of archaeology, called here ‘the archaeological’. It argues that the existence of such an object is a necessary premise of the field and that ultimately it is onExpand
Archaeologies of Emergent Presents and Futures
This article traces the genealogy of the subfield that has become known as the “archaeology of the contemporary past” and argues for its more thorough integration with an expanded field of historicalExpand
Archaeologies of the Contemporary World
Archaeologists have long been interested in contemporary material culture, but only recently has a dedicated subfield of archaeology of the contemporary world begun to emerge. Although it isExpand
Histories of a Burnt House: An Archaeology of Negative Spaces and Dispossession
The last few decades have witnessed the emergence of an unprecedented interest in the archaeology of the contemporary past. Here, building on that scholarship, I present a diachronic analysis of aExpand
More than representation
In this article I examine how Deleuzian-inspired assemblage theory allows us to offer a new challenge to the enlightenment categories of thought that have dominated archaeological thinking. TheExpand
No Compensation Needed: On Archaeology and the Archaeological
The archaeological is regularly perceived in negative terms as lacking and deficient. It is fragmented, static, and crude, a residue of past living societies. Accordingly, much of archaeologists’Expand
Vestigial Matters: Contemporary Archaeology and Hyperart
This article addresses things that can be described as rudimentary and vestigial; for example, an arguably out-of-place snow stake encountered in a derelict 19th-century landscape garden during anExpand
Finding symmetry? Archaeology, Objects, and Posthumanism
Well before the turn of the century, it had become clear that archaeology's aspiration to study the past was, true to the modern project, a pretext for a deeper desire to fabricate its objects.Expand
The Messy Business of Archaeology as Participatory Local Knowledge:: A Conversation between the Stó:lō Nation and Knowle West
Archaeology assumes itself as a discipline through a practice of boun- darymaking that merges the past with the present. It is, in this practice, increasingly critiqued for being ethnocentric andExpand
Feeling Forward into the Past: Depths and Surfaces in Archaeology
As novice archaeologists learn to project their attention beyond what is immediately visible on the ground, in the company of experts who support them by drawing their attention through gestures,Expand


Towards an Archaeology of the Contemporary Past
Archaeology, defined as the study of material culture, extends from the first preserved human artefacts up to the present day, and in recent years the ‘Archaeology of the Present’ has become aExpand
The Past is Tomorrow. Towards an Archaeology of the Vanishing Present
This paper arises from a dissatisfaction with the ‘Great Divides’ created between past and present, self and others, people and material culture in the context of ethnoarchaeology. While conductingExpand
Contemporary Archaeology in Transit: The Artifacts of a 1991 Van
This article uses an assemblage of recently abandoned material culture as a medium for exploring the world in which we all live. First it is suggested that if we are to study contemporary materialExpand
Millennial archaeology. Locating the discipline in the age of insecurity
  • S. Dawdy
  • Sociology
  • Archaeological Dialogues
  • 2009
Abstract This discussion article responds to a forum question posed by the editors of Archaeological dialogues: ‘is archaeology useful?’ My response initially moves backward from the question,Expand
Clockpunk Anthropology and the Ruins of Modernity
This essay identifies the potential of an emerging archaeological turn for anthropology—and for archaeology itself. I argue that despite the critiques of the past two decades, the temporality ofExpand
The Past Is in the Present: On the History and Archives of Archaeology
Archaeology quite obviously deals with the past, as its name indicates, but it is also the case that it does so in the present. It is very much in the present, as and when it is practiced, thatExpand
Conceptions of agency in archaeological interpretation
Abstract The history of archaeological concern with the individual social actor is traced, and a divergence between emphasis of human agency in theory and ignorance in pratice is noted. Three studiesExpand
On multiple fields. Between the material world and media: Two cases from the Peloponnesus, Greece
Deeply embedded in much of archaeological thought is an epistemological scheme of the ‘field’ as separate from the ‘home-base’, whether laboratory, archive or study. This modernist division isExpand
After Modernity: Archaeological Approaches to the Contemporary Past
This book summarizes archaeological approaches to the contemporary past, and suggests a new agenda for the archaeology of late modern societies. The principal focus is the archaeology of developed,Expand
The Fragments of Modernity and the Archaeologies of the Future: Response to Gregory Jusdanis
The broken pot, the pot in fragments, the scattered shards, is the image that Gregory Jusdanis’s text leaves us with, along with the dilemma of whether to reconstruct the pot or display theExpand