Darvill, T., 2005. Iconoclash and Archaeological Image Wars: Beyond Responses to ‘Crises of Interpretation’ That Treat ‘State of Emergency’ as Norm. In: Cork 2005: 11th EAA (European Association of Archaeologists) Annual Conference, 5–11 September 2005, Cork, Ireland. (Unpublished)
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Official URL: http://eaacork.ucc.ie/
Discussant. The last century has seen academia experience a series of 'crises [in the] of interpretation [of sources of the authority]' of most influentially opposed paradigms for research and teaching. Today, debates over the causes and consequences of these crises proliferate across increasingly specialised cross-disciplinary: 1. theoretical literatures 2. areas of research and teaching, and 3. programmes for 'public understanding' of science and academia, in general. The expression 'crises of interpretation' comes from works of Walter Benjamin (1992, , 1978 , 1994 , 1977) that 'comb against the grain' 'standard' accounts of the 'Birth of Modernity' - posing questions about the conditions under which 'state of emergency' can and has become a normative principle, and the ways in which colonialist, imperialist and nationalist political ideologies render invisible the barbarity of what they call 'civilising' processes. Benjamin spoke too early and too late. Increasingly phantasmagorical ideologies have been employed to obscure the marginalisation, exploitation and oppression, even until death, of 'minorities'. Starting in 1949, Theodore Adorno (1973) put forward his influential arguments concerning crises facing 'representation.' Concrete events had undermined the credibility of any claims to be able to 'clean the slate' (to 'start again from scratch') – and establish a timeless, placeless universally agreed-upon arbiter of what is common in the world we live in common. Critical theory, Adorno said, faced with the final stage of the 'dialectic' of 'culture and barbarism.' The 1960s saw 'crises of interpretation' motivate critiques of images of the First, Second and Third Worlds' that render invisible the barbaric impacts on the 'Third' of the history of the political, economic and cultural hegemony of the 'First and Second'. But key issues have recurrently been overshadowed, by disputes over 'analytic,' 'continental' and 'social (or critical theory)' paradigms for research and teaching. Today, as many barriers created by this tripartite cosmos-polis collapse, 'crises of interpretation' occur arising in tandem with the explosion of political policy, academic and media attention to images of 'globalisation and multi-culturalism' and its 'public understanding.' In what concerns archaeology, debates over 'agency and structure,' 'material culture,' and the 'efficacy of symbolic forms' expand across divisions between the contents and contexts of research and teaching. The range of images contested is expanding too, from archaeologist's images of the past, to images arising from interpretations given to archaeological materials by commercial industries, political interest groups, etc., to images of archaeologists proliferating across diverse public media. Several issues posed relate to questions Benjamin's works raised that are being taken up in such projects as those represented in the exhibition catalogue: Iconoclash: Beyond Wars of Religions, Science and Art (Latour and Weibel: 2002). This session seeks to provide a context for exploring some of these and related issues suggested by speakers.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)|
|Subjects:||History > Archaeology|
|Group:||School of Applied Sciences > Centre for Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||12 Mar 2009 11:52|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 15:00|
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