ANT430H5S Special Problems in Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (SCI)

After Excavation: Topics in the Archaeology of the Contemporary World

This course will be offered in the Winter 2020 term.

The archaeology of the contemporary world is an emerging field that studies the contemporary period, understood broadly as the post-WWI world up to and including the present. Research up to date has included studies of innovative or destructive technologies that have shaped our time, such as “space junk”-the byproduct of decades of space exploration, artificial intelligence, remote underwater drilling sites, Cold World missile launching sites and atomic bomb sites, but also of the mundane and forgotten, such as an IKEA bookcase, an abandoned social housing apartment, and even one’s own family house. Through its scope, contemporary archaeology is a creative engagement with the way the passage of time, the accumulation of history, destruction, ruination, and impermanence shape the emerging present and future. Its study can provide insights to the way we approach other time periods, reveal biases and implicit assumptions in traditional artifact studies, contribute to the development of archaeological theory, and offer a deeper understanding of our own time through the lens of archaeology. The course is intended for archaeology students working in any period as well as socio-cultural anthropology students interested in the material world.

Prerequisites: 1.0 credits in 300 level anthropology courses and departmental approval.