12. Imagining the Past: A Case Study of Double Archaeology

Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion - Barbara Krawcowicz

Vaia Touna [+-]
University of Alabama
Vaia Touna is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She is author of Fabrications of the Greek Past: Religion, Tradition, and the Making of Modern Identities (Brill, 2017) and editor of Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity: Towards a Dynamic Theory of People and Place (Equinox, 2019). Her research focuses on the sociology of religion, acts of identification and social formation, methodological issues concerning the use of the category of “religion” in the study of the ancient Graeco-Roman world, as well as the study of the past in general.


Vaia Touna takes Smith’s idea of religion as an act of a second order reflective imagination and explores the idea of “the past” as a similar discursive act. As a case study she looks at a contemporary archaeological excavation, near the village of Narthaki, in central Greece, and the often-unnoticed collaborations between a variety of participants (e.g., archaeologists and local residents, museum visitors and curators, etc.), who each have their own narratives about, and investments in the archaeological finds. Touna’s goal is to investigate how these collaborations (implicit or explicit) between so called outsiders (e.g., archaeologists) and insiders (e.g., local residents) impact the way the material artifacts found in archaeological sites are imagined. What kind of meanings they acquire? How are they discussed and historicized not only within the framework of local communities and their larger ethnic discourses but also within archaeological and historical disciplinary discourses.

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Touna, Vaia . 12. Imagining the Past: A Case Study of Double Archaeology. Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Oct 2023. ISBN 9781781799840. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39938. Date accessed: 26 Nov 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39938. Oct 2023

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