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Brown shield Brown shield Brown University Brown shield Brown shield Brown University Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World

Archaeologies of memory in the global south: uncovering and displaying the remembered and unremembered past

(a seminar for the rising generation of scholars, curators, and activists)

Organized by Steve Lubar and Sue Alcock

 

Seminar Schedule:

Monday, June 9th
Morning session: 9:30 am
Donna McFarlane and Tony Bogues
    Telling Our Story - The Making of Liberty Hall:
    The Legacy of Marcus Garvey

Afternoon session: 2:00 pm
Nick Shepherd
    Archaeology and Memory after Apartheid
Siona Campbell
    Apertures and Archives: Binaries and the Bushmen

Tuesday, June 10th
Morning session: 9:30 am
Emmanuel Asare and Ray Silverman
    (Re)Locating Memory and History in a Ghanaian Community

Afternoon session: 2:00 pm
Howard Chan
    Community Museum Project, Hong Kong
Michael Townsend and Deborah Abramson
    Flower Blossoming Action

Wednesday, June 11th
Fieldtrip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

Thursday, June 12th
Morning session: 9:30 am
Tomas Barrientos and Karen Pereira
    The Role of Archaeology in Postwar Multicultural Developments
    in Guatemala, Central America

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MONDAY
Morning

Donna McFarlane, Director/Curator Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey (Kingston, Jamaica)
Tony Bogues, Brown University

Telling Our Story - The Making of Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey into a Cultural, Educational Institution - October 2003 – Present.

The mission of Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey is to inform the public about the work of Jamaica’s first national hero and to use his philosophy and opinions to inspire, excite, and positively affect the self-identity of Jamaican people while creating social and economic wealth. The services and opportunities offered by Liberty Hall earn it a listing as a premier cultural/educational institution in downtown Kingston.  The Marcus
Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum is an exercise in memory, exoneration, and in representation.  Its placement within Liberty Hall, a national monument, facilitates a comprehensive approach to representation of our story, with the museum as the central pillar.

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MONDAY
Afternoon

Nick Shepherd, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town

Archaeology and Memory after Apartheid

How do we remember in the postcolony? What is at stake in social processes of remembering and forgetting? What role does archaeology play in this postcolonial landscape of memory? It turns out that none of the answers to these questions is simple. Instead, they take us to the heart of a contested set of struggles around citizenship, rights, entitlements, and the shape and
nature of personhood and a post-apartheid public sphere. In quite pointed ways, the politics of memory marks the point of divergence of the interests of historical and new elites and beneficiaries, and ongoing struggles for restitution and social justice on the part of the dispossessed, victims of apartheid, and the new poor. In this paper, I begin with a series of reflections on archaeology and memory in the postcolony. I consider briefly the politics of memory in South Africa with reference to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the paradigmatic instance of the theatre of
memory in post-apartheid society. And I go on to consider a case study concerned with the exhumation of an early-colonial burial site in Prestwich Street, Cape Town, the most publicly contested instance of archaeological work in the post-1994 period. Some of the themes and ideas introduced and explored in this paper include: strategies of silence, secrecy and non-disclosure in relation to memory (“archaeologies of silence”); state and
official projects of memorialisation and containment (“remembering like a state”); the formation of subaltern counter-publics as “communities of memory”; the inventiveness of memory and the forms taken by creative memory work; and the politics of memory in relation to human remains (“remembering and dismembering”).

Siona O’Connell, University of Capetown

Apertures and Archives: Binaries and the Bushmen

A photograph is much more than a collection of pigments on light sensitive paper. Its connection to death, memory and remembering is well theorised and documented. Nestled in archives, museums and educational institutions, particularly in South Africa are hundreds of photographs of Bushmen. This paper will address the relationship of the archived photograph and the lives of Bushmen today. It will reference a seven month project that I facilitated with a group of Southern African Bushmen, which largely used the medium of photography to interrogate remembering and memory. With the use of colonial photography of the Bushmen, as well as their own journey with a camera, the project highlighted areas of concern regarding the construction of what it means to be Bushman today.

In post colonial, post apartheid South Africa, where and how does the act of remembering for the Bushmen take place? What roles can material culture of the Bushmen, housed in archives, libraries and museums, play in memory?  For South African Bushmen, what is their position as citizens in post apartheid South Africa, given that in many spheres – political, social and economic -  they are on the periphery, seldom engaging in dialogue largely framed by academics, photographers,  museum personnel and others.

How can the colonial photograph of the Bushman serve as a facilitator of change and ownership, given that the history of the multi layered group is littered with trauma, undergirded by their fragile and tenuous position in many of the areas they occupy today.  If the colonial photograph and other material are left unfettered in the archive and the museum, available to academics, artists and others to prod, digitize at will, what is the cost to the Bushmen, who are largely unable to access the archive and the museum?  How will the Bushmen remember, what will they remember, if they are unable to enter the debate on their past, present and future.


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TUESDAY
Morning

Emmanuel Asare, Community Development Officer, Jema, Ghana
Raymond Silverman, Director, Museum Studies Program, University of Michigan

(Re)Locating Memory and History in a Ghanaian Community

Two related issues are currently having a significant impact on local “memory,” or tradition, in Techiman. One is the Ghanaian government’s efforts to articulate a “national culture” for the country. This national culture is a construct that draws bits and pieces from the cultures of Ghana’s constituent ethnic groups. The process of creating and sustaining this national culture, coupled with other socio-cultural shifts, has inadvertently led to the erosion of local traditions and the relocation or reordering of the community’s cultural memory. Techiman and other communities in Ghana are struggling to maintain a sense of local identity.
  
The other issue concerns Ghana’s burgeoning heritage tourism industry, specifically tailored for African Americans.  The predominant tourist experience foregrounds a particular narrative of the history of slavery in Ghana. This situation presents yet another threat to local tradition in that local histories are being rewritten to conform to this narrative, in which very specific aspects of local pasts are remembered, namely those associated with slavery.  People are not necessarily forgetting but suppressing other important features of the past. It is a phenomenon that one finds occurring throughout the country. For example, in Techiman, archaeological work undertaken in the 1970s, as well as recorded oral traditions, are being exploited to tell a story of Bono Manso as the site of an important slave market, while playing down its significance as the region’s earliest urban center and first centralized state. It is a story whose primary intended audience is tourists.
  
Several years ago the people of Techiman, in particular the Traditional Council of Chiefs, embarked on an ambitious project to create Nkwantananso (“place at the crossroad”) where the local cultures of Techiman’s multiethnic community can be performed, sustained, and encouraged to evolve.  This cultural center will be a space and place where the cultural memories of the Bono and the various immigrant groups that comprise Techiman’s diverse population will be reanimated. Significantly, it is anticipated that if the town succeeds in creating a dynamic institution for the community, an important byproduct will be the attraction of tourists.

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TUESDAY
Afternoon

Howard Chan, The Hong Kong Community Museum

Community Museum Project, Hong Kong

The presentation will use Community Museum Project (CMP, www.hkcmp.org), a Hong Kong-based curatorial collective (with which the presenter is affiliated), as a case study in the possible application of the museum methodology to the visual representation of community values and practices, and how different areas of knowledge and social resources can be “curated” to nurture synergized social relations.

CMP focuses not on conventional “museum” hardware, but on carrying out flexible exhibition and public programs to represent everyday living and values, often within specific community settings. Through the collection and interpretation of artifacts and visual evidence, indigenous creativity, visual culture and public culture can be explored. Through this process, we aim to nurture a platform to articulate personal experiences and under-represented histories, and to facilitate the participation of the public and cross-disciplinary collaboration. To us, “museum” is a method, and “community” can be the subject matter, settings and creative public
interface. Examples of projects include objects of protest, fake goods and DIY tools.
 
CMP’s more recent projects are set against the massive urban re-development, which has taken place in many old districts in Hong Kong and led to a drain of local knowledge. An on-going project about street craftspeople extends from researches (on the skills, operation, space) to collaboration with professional designers and NGOs, in an attempt to fit the traditional craftsmanship into contemporary life. The project now enters the stage of establishing a social enterprise model with young people under social service scheme.


Michael Townsend and Deborah Abramson, Brown University

Flower Blossoming Action
(Flowers blossoming today will bear fruits tomorrow)

Kai fongs (neighbors) of the Sham Shui Po K20 – K23 urban renewal district gathered on Sunday, 6th of April to create a large temporary artwork at the corner of Castle Peak Road and Cheung Wah Street. The artwork was a collective expression of hope for a shared future. This action was in direct response to the critical issues involving the redevelopment of the K20 – K23
urban renewal district (Castle Peak Road, Un Chau Street, Fuk Wing Street, Cheung Wah Street, Hing Wah Street). The temporary artwork, made entirely of removable adhesive tape, showcased drawings of different shops and storefronts directly threatened by the redevelopment. Over 50 neighbors participated.

The drawings were made on an existing building that has been proposed by the kai fongs as a new home for the shops displaced by the redevelopment plan.  Residents of the neighborhood and friends from other districts were invited to participate in the creation of the mural, and the media and legislators were also invited to join them. The artwork remained until removed by the kai fongs. The neighbors currently await a response by the government about the fate of their wish to stay at the district, which directly affects the livelihood of those involved with this project.
 
We were extremely moved to be included in this project by such a close-knit, focused community group. We learned so much about smart community organization, hope, and perseverance. Regardless of the outcome of redevelopment plan, the kai fongs have demonstrated the power of creativity and collective action.
 
http://www.tapeart.com/hongkong/air/Home.html

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WEDNESDAY
FIELD TRIPS; FREE TIME

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THURSDAY
Morning

Tomas Barrientos, Director, Departamento de Arqueología,
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Karen Pereira, University of Florida

The Role of Archaeology in Postwar Multicultural Developments in Guatemala, Central America

 

In 1996, the signing of the Peace Accords ended Guatemala's 40-year civil war, and opened a new chapter in the country's history. For the first time, the government officially defined Guatemala as a multicultural and multiethnic nation.

Among the political, legal and social developments generated by the Peace Accords, many indigenous groups now claim land tenure and human rights in order to restore the life conditions that were shattered during the war. Furthermore, the Peace Accords triggered a series of cultural responses, which have been known as the “Maya Movement”, integrated by scholars and religious leaders with indigenous ascendancy.  Since then, Maya Culture have increasingly become as means to create new forms of ethnic and national identities in Guatemala.

While some Maya leaders try to preserve their culture and to revive the ancestral religion, many Guatemalans are becoming interested in the economic profits that Maya places generate by the growing tourism industry. However, the Guatemalan government does not have the resources or the interest to protect the more than 3,000 archaeological sites located between the country’s boundaries.

Given this context, the Archaeology in Guatemala needs to go beyond just pure scientific goals and has to get involved with the overall political, educational and social needs of the indigenous and non-indigenous population. Archaeology thus should be defined as a key element that could contribute to the developments of a new nation, either in a positive or in a negative way. 

During this session, we will present some cases that exemplify the critical role of Archaeology in the recent multicultural developments in Guatemala, not only as relevant to this nation, but as an example of how the 21st century archaeology should be developed elsewhere. The themes to be discussed are:

  1. Managing archaeological sites as sacred places
  2. Politics and law: The problem of multicultural property
  3. Archaeology as an educational tool
  4. Investment in archaeology through tourism
  5. The role of the archaeologist in national and international issues

 

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THURSDAY
Afternoon

Wrap Up; Depart



Supplemental Readings for Seminar:

Additional readings for many of the sessions can be found at http://proteus.brown.edu/jnbc/524.