Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, Vol 5, No 2 (2018)

Anarchism, Decolonization, and Collaborative Archaeology

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant
Issued Date: 26 Jan 2019


This article explores the relationship between anarchism, collaborative archaeology, and the decolonization of African diaspora heritage in the US and Caribbean. The heart of anarchism as a political theory articulates a robust criticism of hierarchy, and neatly intersects growing interests in collaborative archaeology and heritage. This represents a crucial intersection as the majority of archaeological projects remains rigidly hierarchical, often resulting in the silencing of local stakeholder communities. Anarchism's attention to identifying and addressing hierarchy represents a living theory for the decolonization of archaeological practice. The author grounds these thoughts through two case studies. The first examines the importance of situating scholarly interests alongside, or even below local community concerns as they relate to the 1923 Rosewood race riot in Levy County, Florida. The second case study examines how this approach alerts researchers to new projects revealing the unique interactions between Afro-Caribbean and British soilders in Nevis, West Indies. The author's ongoing experience with anarchism continues to transform his personal practice of archaeology. This paper concludes by highlighting anarchism's unique ability to address harmful hierarchical posturing, democratize archaeological knowledge, and support our roles as researchers, educators, and advocates.

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DOI: 10.1558/jca.33487


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