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Excavating Bodies in the Archives: Generating New Methods and Collaborations
Seminar Chairs: Shannon A. Novak, Alanna L. Warner-Smith

May 1-5, 2023

Excavating Bodies in the Archives: Generating New Methods and Collaborations

There has been a proliferation of scholarship “in the archives” across the social sciences. This research seminar explores what can be learned about “the body,” past and present, in the archives, broadly defined. The body has long been a site of research in the social sciences as source, scale, and theory. But what do we mean by “the body,” and how can we learn about it through various sources? How does working both in and with archives destabilize the boundaries between sources (e.g., bodily tissues, artifacts, archives, oral histories, and ethnography), temporality (prehistoric/historic/contemporary), and disciplines? How can various traces be brought into relation with one another to generate new questions, data, and insights related to embodiment and the body? Does such work redefine or challenge the definition or boundaries of “the body” or “the archive”? And how does such work destabilize or alter the positionality of the embodied researcher who encounters such materials and sources? An interdisciplinary team of contributors working with ethnographic, (bio)archaeological, and historical methods will meet to discuss and workshop circulated papers that examine these questions through an engagement with archival methods.

Alanna Warner-Smith, Chair
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University

Shannon Novak, Chair
Professor, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University.