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Reconstructing Ancient Pueblo Histories: A short Seminar on Historical Method in Southwest Archaeology
Co-chaired by Jennifer Shannon and Severin Fowles

October 18 – 20, 2022

Reconstructing Ancient Pueblo Histories: A Short Seminar on Historical Method in Southwest Archaeology

This SAR seminar reunites twelve archaeologists to expand and complete papers debating historical method in Southwest archaeology in light of Stephen Lekson’s History of the Ancient Southwest (2009), Chaco Meridian (2015), and Study of Southwestern Archaeology (2018). These three texts, along with his wider corpus of work, have been controversial, both due to Lekson’s provocative claims about the political organization of Ancestral Pueblo societies and to the rhetorical style in which his claims are made. At a more fundamental level, however, Lekson’s books point to deep methodological divides regarding how to reconstruct Pueblo history. Growing out of a recent gathering to present papers in honor of Lekson’s retirement, this seminar will respond to his call for “prehistoriography”—for explicit debate over “how to write a narrative history of pre-history” (Lekson 2015)—through the creation of a published volume of methodologically-focused essays that will be of global archaeological relevance.


Jennifer Shannon, Chair
Curator and Associate Professor, Museum of Natural History and Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado – Boulder

Severin Fowles, Chair
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University


Generous Funding Provided by the Mill Foundation

Comparative ‘Theory’ of Mind and Spiritual Experience 
Tanya Luhrmann, Chair

February 27 – March 3, 2023 New Date

Comparative ‘Theory’ of Mind and Spiritual Experience

Comparative ‘Theory’ of Mind and Spiritual Experience brings an interdisciplinary group of anthropologists and psychologists who, through a large comparative project, have been working together for three years on the way ideas about the mind shape the way people seek and experience the supernatural. The hypothesis is that different cultural understandings of the mind—specifically, how separate the mind is from the world, how important inner experience is held to be, and how real the imagination is held to be—shape the way people identify events they deem supernatural, and thus alter their spiritual experience. This seminar is an opportunity for participants to gather again after the end of the grant-funded period, with the goal of putting together several synoptic articles and a team volume that intended to be the definitive volume on comparative theory of mind and comparative spiritual experience.


Tanya Luhrmann, Chair 
Howard and Jessie Watkins University Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

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