Anthropology | Archaeological Ethics
P509 | 24960 | Pyburn


Meets 1st 8 weeks only

This class will focus on the ethics issues raised by archaeological
methods and research. Recent political and cultural developments in
the United States have lead to a spate of new laws and new ethical
codes affecting archaeology as a profession. Other developed and
developing nations have begun to make similar new demands on
archaeologists and archaeological representations. The causes of these
changes, as well as the consequences, are transforming archaeology
into a very new field for some archaeologists. Other archaeologists
continue to productively define their field in terms of a modernist
agenda that they identify with responsible science.

The class will begin with a discussion of the theoretical revolution
that has occurred in social science over the last 20 years (Said,
Wolf, Moody-Adams, Wilk) and how the critique of science engendered by
this perspective foregrounds the ethical dilemmas of archaeological
research. From this groundwork we will move to a discussion of the
legal underpinnings of archaeology as a profession and investigate
both the letter and the spirit of these codes (Arlie House, AltaMira).
Next we will consider the ethical ramifications of research on women
and gender issues by archaeologists (Nelson, Zeder, Pyburn, Haraway,
Conkey) to establish unawareness of biased patterns of investigation.
We will pay special attention to how circular reasoning in the
construction of gender history both creates and is created by the
political present. Once these patterns are considered, the class will
focus on the perspective and experience of other groups of people more
traditionally studied by archaeologists, Native North Americans and
Native Central Americans. We will begin this section of the class by
considering the work of archaeologists speaking on behalf of first
peoples (Hurst-Thomas, Pyburn) and then read and discuss what subject
people and Native American archaeologists say for themselves Watson,
stepping stones). We will end with a series of case studies (Vitelli).