Histories of Archaeological Representation: Scales of the Past in the 19th- and 20th-Century World
The thematic and temporal range of the material under discussion will allow the panel members to illustrate the potential of archaeological representations in terms of thinking about these histories. From imperial Russian archaeological congresses in the late nineteenth century to media coverage of archaeological work in interwar France, and from international commissions and international meetings in both these countries to the paperwork generated by archaeological work in post-war, and newly independent, Egypt and Sudan, our panel will illustrate the rich variety of ways in which archaeological representations have constituted the means to imagine and re-imagine the historical and immemorial past and the present. The panel will also illustrate the various ways in which these representations have been linked to scale. Not only will the papers discuss the way such representations worked in contexts from the local to the transnational, but the geographic make up of this material will also provide an exciting (and novel) comparative aspect of discussion, investigating the intersection of archaeological representations and scale across multiple continents.
Furthermore, the different disciplinary backgrounds of the panel members will highlight the analytical and explanatory fecundity of the material that their papers focus on. William Carruthers, a historian of science, will also bring his archaeological training to bear on the representations he discusses. Meanwhile, Louise McReynolds will bring her expertise in understanding the historical relationship between nation and empire, underpinning the panel’s discussion of scale with theoretical insights relating to the theme. Simultaneously, Daniel Sherman will bring perspectives from art history and critical museum studies into play, analyzing the relationship between text, image, display, and purpose that the panel will illustrate has been crucial to archaeology’s development as a modern discipline. Chairing, Suzanne Marchand will bring her deep knowledge of intellectual and cultural history to discussions of the phenomena at hand. Understanding archaeological representations can help us to understand the development of archaeology as an authoritative force at various different scales. Our panel will illustrate why, opening its topic to historians of all stripes.