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Title

Difficult Pasts and Haunted Presents: Contemporary Archaeology and Conflict in an Age of Global Uncertainty

Polish Title

Trudne przeszłości i nawiedzone teraźniejszości: Współczesna archeologia i konflikt w erze globalnej niepewności

Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5151-5448 Symonds James

Abstract

This article examines the role of archaeology in contemporary society. It works from the premise that archaeology is a form of socio-political action and explores some of the ways in which archaeologies of the recent past can have therapeutic or cathartic effects. Three case studies are presented. The first two focus on the recovery of war dead and the memorialization of conflict landscapes at Fromelles, in northern France, and Peleliu, in Micronesia. The third explores the materiality of unauthorised migration in the US-Mexico borderlands of southern Arizona. The central argument presented in this article is that in an age of global uncertainty, where support for the humanities is in decline and respect for academic knowledge is diminishing, archaeologists should re-position their work to more clearly focus on contemporary social issues. If archaeology is to survive as a discipline it must be seen as being socially relevant research, with the capacity to contribute to contemporary public discourses.

Polish Abstract

Autor analizuje rolę archeologii we współczesnym społeczeństwie w oparciu o założenie, że dyscyplina ta jest także formą działania społeczno-politycznego, i jednocześnie zajmuje się potencjalnymi efektami terapeutycznymi lub oczyszczającymi niedawnej przeszłości. W artykule przedstawione są trzy studia przypadków. Dwa pierwsze koncentrują się na poszukiwaniach szczątków osób poległych w czasie wojny oraz upamiętnieniu krajobrazu konfliktu we Fromelles w północnej Francji oraz Peleliu w Mikronezji. W trzecim przedstawiona jest materialność nielegalnej migracji na pograniczu amerykańsko-meksykańskim w południowej Arizonie. Autor podkreśla, że w dobie globalnej niepewności i malejącego poparcia dla nauk humanistycznych oraz szacunku dla wiedzy akademickiej, archeolodzy powinni w większym stopniu skupić się na współczesnych problemach społecznych. Jeśli archeologia ma przetrwać jako dyscyplina, należy ją postrzegać jako badania ważne społecznie, zdolne do współtworzenia współczesnych dyskursów publicznych.

Keywords

contemporary archaeology, difficult heritage, conflict, psychotherapy

Polish Keywords

współczesna archeologia, trudne dziedzictwo, konflikt, psychoterapia

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First Page

5

Last Page

21

Language

eng

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