ANT 383M • Archaeologies of Technology
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Technology and ideas about technology form a central part of how people in general and anthropologists specifically think about the world. Technology has been used to classify history and prehistory into different eras (Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, etc.), and to describe differences between "primitive" and modern, rational and cultural, etc. Ideas about technology form an important part of narratives of progress in Western countries and underdevelopment in the Third World, and of explanations of processes of European colonialism in the Americas. Archaeologies of Technology is a graduate seminar that will critically examine how ideas related to technology have influenced Anthropology and how technology has been involved in social, cultural, and economic change in specific case studies. The seminar will begin with an introduction to the literature on Science, Technology, and Society (STS). We will use STS to examine a variety of archaeological approaches to technology, including Behavioral, Darwinian, and Culture Historical approaches, among others. We will then consider a variety of topics and case studies related to communication technologies (origins of writing, calendars, etc.), agricultural intensification, ceramic production, stone tool production, metallurgy, and European colonialism.