Vital Topics Forum

This forum includes contributions from Mark W. Hauser, Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Koji Lau-Ozawa, Barbara L. Voss, Reinhard Bernbeck, Susan Pollock, Randall H. McGuire, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Christopher Hernandez, and Sonya Atalay.

In his introduction, Mark W. Hauser writes:

At its most general level, bearing witness is a valuable way to scrutinize violent encounters, traumatic events, dislocations, and structural inequalities. It can help obtain support from those who might feel distant from those events, diffuse pressure from communities most directly affected, and bring about change. Bearing witness can take the form of communicating traumatic personal experiences or documenting for others the dislocations, institutionalized violence, and kinds of difference-making that often escape social examination. Contributors build on these forms by arguing that bearing witness is part of an archaeological episteme. That is, as archaeologists, we produce accounts of the past. When we produce such accounts, we make choices about how they are narrated. Those choices, of course, are constrained by existing traditions, our positions in the field, and our political commitments. Most importantly, those accounts are limited by what we are trained to see as observers. . . . These essays, rather than providing a set of common goals in archaeology as bearing witness, provide a set of ordered questions. Because of the limited space, I will reflect on three: To what do we bear witness? How do we bear witness? And why do we bear witness?

Read the rest of the introduction and the individual contributions here.

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