Sarah K. Croucher—Weatherhead Resident Scholar

“Capitalism and Cloves: A Critique of Historical Archaeology”

Sarah K. CroucherSarah K. Croucher2010–2011 Weatherhead Resident ScholarSarah K. Croucher2010–2011 Weatherhead Resident Scholar

“My book is about Islamic-run plantations in the nineteenth century in East Africa that grew cloves for export. As a book about plantation archaeology, it works through several different themes to explore the archaeology of landscapes and the kind of layout of plantations’ domestic space, and different kinds of ceramics, locally and mass-produced. It has also become quite a theoretical book about historical archaeology. So I use this case study in East Africa to pick up a lot of the really taken-for-granted things in plantation archaeology in particular, but also in historical archaeologies of capitalism and in some of the current questions about global historical archaeology.”

From the Interview...

“Not long after arriving here, we ended up somehow informally gathering together a group where we started to workshop one another’s chapters. It normally involves cake, but really it’s also about carefully reading through a piece of someone’s work each week, sometimes very much in process, sometimes a little closer to publication, and then getting together and really commenting on that and delving into what the issues are with that and how to strengthen it.”

From the Cameron & Croucher Interview...

“I hope to bring the archaeology of Eastern Africa into wider conversation with the field of ‘global historical archaeology.’”—Sarah K. Croucher“I think one of the great things about being at SAR and its environment is that it’s very interdisciplinary. It’s rooted in the Southwest a little bit but it has other archaeologists here, cultural anthropologists. We’ve had the artists participate in our workshops, too, which has been really interesting, and so people really take apart your work from their different perspectives. For me, having a couple of archaeologists who come from quite a different theoretical background [than] me—they’re much more processually oriented—they push me on my archaeology, and that has definitely strengthened my writing. I don’t know that I’ve changed my mind about my core theoretical ideas, although they might want me to,” Croucher said with a laugh, “but it means that I’ve written about those ideas in ways that really strengthen me against arguments from those quarters.”

Find out more about Sarah K. Croucher by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

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