Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 2019-08-02T11:10:44+00:00 Rodney Harrison Open Journal Systems <p>The&nbsp;<em>Journal of Contemporary Archaeology</em>&nbsp;is the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to explore archaeology’s specific contribution to understanding the present and recent past. It is concerned both with archaeologies of the contemporary world, defined temporally as belonging to the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as well as with reflections on the socio-political implications of doing archaeology in the contemporary world.</p> Futurity, Time, and Archaeology 2019-08-02T11:10:10+00:00 Matthew Reilly <p>There continues to be much archaeological discussion concerning temporality and the complex relationship between the past and present, but less attention is paid to how the future figures into archaeological thought, method, and interpretation. This introductory essay provides the theoretical framework for an archaeological consideration of futurity, an approach that takes seriously the expectations and imaginations of people in the past while also recognizing the urgency of our present here-and-now. An archaeology of critical futurities opens the discipline to potentialities of action, to imagine worlds otherwise in the past and to strive for change in the future. By broadening archaeological approaches to time to include futures, authors in this collection demonstrate the global potential for an archaeology poised for action in addition to exploring how the future is a critical component of understanding the past and present.</p> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The Future of Archaeology in the Age of Presentism 2019-08-02T11:10:14+00:00 Laurent Olivier <div>The Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce proposed that “every true history is a contemporary history”, meaning that any historical enquiry is basically a dialogue between present society and the past(s). Quite similarly, we may claim that “all true archaeology is an archaeology of the present”: this is not only because any archaeological approach to the past is undertaken from the present; more fundamentally, it is because, as an assemblage of material things, the present is made of all the remains of the past which are still surviving within the materiality of our present time. But what could this mean, an “archaeology of the present”? And how does it challenge the conventional archaeology that we have been taught to practice? Foremost, an archaeology of the present looks at things, observing how human activity has transformed – or is transforming – the materiality of the world around people. In doing so, such an approach is no longer directed towards the past in itself (seen as the temporality where the origins of everything take place); rather, it points towards the future, stressing all kinds of processes of emergence. Time, thus, is no longer uni-linear and sequential: developing in the long run, it becomes instead multi-linear and periodical – that is to say, filled with returns, survivals and disappearances. And contexts, also, are transformed, since, at every moment in time they may connect many different environments.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. History, Capitalism, and Postcolonial Identities 2019-08-02T11:10:18+00:00 O. Hugo Benavides <div>In the last four decades there have been critical interventions in archaeology that have engaged the issues of politics, class, and colonialism within the production of the past. A concern in this endeavor has been the role that time has played in the chronological ordering of historical narratives. This article contributes to these debates by assessing narratives of archaeologies of the future, particularly as they have been expressed in Western science-fiction and dystopic texts, focusing in particular on Christopher Priest’s The Affirmation (1981) and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (2004, English translation 2009). It assesses how one accounts for such a pernicious system of exploitation as capitalism to have been historicized into a global paradigm, and the complicit role that archaeology plays in this narrative production.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Contesting Temporalities in a Runaway Slave Town 2019-08-02T11:10:21+00:00 Adela Amaral <div>This article follows various forms of colonial governmentality in Mexico and their legacies in the present. Beginning in the late eighteenth century and through reconstruction following the Mexican Revolution, state officials have attempted to construct the futures of residents of Amapa, a town founded by black runaway slaves. The article discusses how past and present townspeople have created and practiced distinct temporalities, incorporating the often-failed material and political potentials that were imagined for them.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. African Futures Past 2019-08-02T11:10:24+00:00 François Richard <p>Recent anthropological research in Africa has been buzzing with the question of “futures”. In times of economic uncertainty and global volatility, in areas of the world struck by widening inequalities, poverty and risk, where people have been compelled to try their luck abroad, the future is a pressing concern. It is also a key ethnographic prism for seeing how Africans (re)imagine time, expectations and possibility in late modernity. As recently pointed out by Janet Roitman, these conversations have acquired salience in relation to a global mood of “crisis”. Crisis, Roitman argues, does not mark an objective break with a normative “before”, a new experiential condition; rather, it is a narrative that imparts new moral weight to history in the present, and thus places a distinct spin on what and how futures can be imagined. Moved by this landscape of concerns, this article wonders what archaeology might contribute to contemporary feelings about “the future” in Africa. How does a look back, and a look forward from the past, help us to tease apart the temporalities that have shaped African worlds in the long term? How might a look at the kinds of time nested in material culture recast ongoing reflections on the present and future in Africa? How might it reframe the terms – crisis, melancholia, nostalgia, hope – in which continental futures are envisioned today? I hope to address these questions by reviewing recent archaeological research in rural West Africa and drawing on my own study of the hopes and anxieties that have framed peasant social expectations in Senegal over the past 300 years. My argument, though preliminary, is that examining Africa’s future pasts – material experiences and expectations of time in recent history – offers a lively contestation of the temporal frameworks into which the continent and its futures have been written.</p> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Detroit 139 2019-08-02T11:10:29+00:00 Krysta Ryzewski <div>The future-making efforts currently unfolding in Detroit have direct implications on the extent to which the city’s pasts will be included in the narratives of generations to come. This essay evaluates current tensions between developers and preservation-oriented stakeholders. In doing so, it lays the groundwork for considering how archaeological initiatives and anthropological treatments of heritage might fit within revitalization efforts. Examples of grassroots, community-led projects undertaken by archaeologists and local partners demonstrate the potential for archaeology to contribute to the maintenance of community heritage and the shape of the city’s future.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Archaeologies of the Present and Sedimented Futures 2019-08-02T11:10:32+00:00 Andrew Roddick <div>In this article, I argue for the merits of a future-oriented ethnoarchaeology that engages recent critiques of ethnoarchaeology and underscores the material traces of our own practices. I develop such an approach by discussing the recent work of the Proyecto Ollero Titicaca Sur, an archaeological, ethnographic, and historic project that explores ceramic craft production in the Lake Titicaca basin, Bolivia. This research was originally framed as an analogy-driven ethnoarchaeological project, connecting dynamics of pottery production with research into crafting communities in the deeper past. However, ongoing work has revealed a community defined not just by the material traces of a historical tradition but also by differential and “arrested” futures. This plurality of futures includes the often-unacknowledged relationship of the ethnoarchaeologist to a larger landscape of development.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Material and Intangible Interventions as Future 2019-08-02T11:10:35+00:00 Laura McAtackney <p>This paper uses archaeological studies of political imprisonment in Ireland to show how (im)material interventions at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin are central to understanding evolving identity and memory in post-partition Ireland. This heritage prison is not only an “icon” of historical struggle, it is a material entity where archaeological methodologies can help to uncover the past realities of imprisonment. Furthermore, it is a highly political place in the present where conflict continues regarding who “wins” the peace in the realm of public memory. This paper argues that archaeological approaches to a transitional heritage site are ideally placed to illuminate not only experiences of its functional past but also its evolving relationship with contemporary society as a form of future-making.</p> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Hypanthropos 2019-08-02T11:10:38+00:00 Christopher Witmore <div>Offering a more precise epithet for that which has emerged under the provisional label of the “Anthropocene”, this article trains its lens on some of the more-than-monstrous things that have revealed themselves in our calamitous times. It raises questions about how archaeologists are to apprehend and approach objects that differ in scale, speed, makeup, and efficacy from anything our field has ever dealt with. But rather than honing its analytical edge exclusively with the latest science, it also ventures in another direction to explore some of the powers of art by considering the work of the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynksy. Finally, it makes a few closing remarks on the role of our profession in this new&nbsp;<em>archaeological&nbsp;</em>era.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Archaeological Encounters 2019-08-02T11:10:41+00:00 Uzma Rizvi <div>This article reorients archaeology’s approach to things by acknowledging the moment of the encounter with the past as one of speculation. Years of scientific claim, research design and methodology place the agentive nature of research in the hands of the archaeologist: we go to the site to find the past. However, if we acquiesce to the possibility that antiquity approaches the archaeologist (rather than vice versa), then that forces us to contend with the contemporary nature of the encounter. This article considers the efficacy, urgency, and poetics of decolonization.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Should Archaeology Have a Future? 2019-08-02T11:10:44+00:00 LouAnn Wurst <div>Archaeologists have recently been discussing what the future may hold for archaeology, a focus firmly situated within the context that the discipline of archaeology is authentic and legitimate and deserves to have a future. In this paper, I want to challenge these ideas and think instead about whether archaeology should even have a future. This line of reasoning is developed by examining the relationship between capitalism and the academy, neoliberal transformations to higher education, and some of the ways that archaeologists have responded. I conclude with some suggestions for alternatives, both for those working within the dominant capitalist academic structures themselves and those that eschew capitalism itself.</div> 2019-06-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Equinox Publishing Ltd.