Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe - David Govantes-Edwards

Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe - David Govantes-Edwards

2. Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: A Personal Take on the Political

Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe - David Govantes-Edwards

Chloë N. Duckworth [+-]
Newcastle University
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Chloe Duckworth is a lecturer in archaeological materials science at Newcastle University. She specialises in the archaeology of medieval technology, and the use of scientific analysis to address social questions in the archaeological record. Her current research focuses on technology transfer in the medieval period, and its relationship to socio-economic, religious and ethnic identity. She directs two major field projects in Spain: the Madinat al-Zahra Survey Project (Cordoba); and the Alhambra Royal Workshops Project (Granada).

Description

The discipline of archaeology has a long history of remaining silent about the political, in the name of objectivity. In spite of repeated pleas for us to engage more meaningfully with public dialogues that use our evidence, the majority of academic archaeologists remain wary of doing so, lest we face accusations of bias. Yet the perceived neutral ‘backdrop’ to European archaeology serves a particular agenda around what Europe is, and who should be included in (and excluded from) it. In an idea of Europe that has been constructed largely in opposition to an ‘Islamic East’, this means that Islamicate archaeology and cultural heritage must always be framed as Other. In this scenario, the ‘silent violence’ of academics is in fact deeply political, as it contributes to the maintenance of a status quo that has little to do with past realities, and obscures their true complexity, impoverishing our understanding of the past itself, and diluting its relevance to the present day.

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Citation

Duckworth, Chloë. 2. Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: A Personal Take on the Political. Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jan 2022. ISBN 9781781797884. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=36071. Date accessed: 02 Aug 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36071. Jan 2022

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