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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perception and Practice: Doing Public Archaeology
by Ellenberger, Katharine Hope, Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2018, 216; 10844330
Abstract (Summary)

Between 1998 and 2018, archaeologists have done progressively more research with outside communities and discussed why they include non-archaeologists in excavations, historical research, and studies of artifacts. Although public archaeology projects share much in common, the diverse methods, theories, and stakeholder groups they work with often remain implicit and, thereby are less likely to enter into disciplinary discourse. This makes it difficult for practitioners to gain a clear purview of the public archaeology movement as a whole, much less understand its various dimensions. There is especially little attention paid to the institutional imperatives that underpin such approaches. The invisibility of institutions which already have considerable influence over community-based archaeology has implications for current practice, and an acknowledgement of institutional influence may help practitioners and communities alike better confront the structural inequalities that such projects seek to address. In this dissertation, I examine the role of institutions in public archaeology practice in the United States. Using a survey of public archaeology practitioners, analysis of four long-term public archaeology case studies, and systematic review of public archaeology’s historical context I have characterized key intersections between institutional stakeholders and public archaeologists. While institutional forms of support and limitation have played a significant role in public archaeologists’ work, practitioners approach grants, publication opportunities, and other institutionally-mediated forms of support with different values than what is conventional in the broader archaeological field. This work comes at a time when public archaeologies have gained popularity but have yet to be subjected to much detailed, critical analysis. I pursue such an analysis here and contribute to intellectual and methodological architecture that would serve to strengthen this kind of archaeology. Public archaeology is one of many forms of public scholarship across geographic and disciplinary boundaries. My findings advance what is known about public archaeology in the US, and may be useful for understanding it internationally, particularly in the UK, Canada, and Australia, insofar as there is shared conversation among practitioners across national contexts. This work also puts forth a set of approaches for critically examining public-oriented scholarship movements in terms of their commitments, historical contexts, and ethical implications.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hart, Siobhan M.
Commitee: Rubaii, Nadia, Smart, Pamela, Versaggi, Nina
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Archaeology, Collaborative archaeology, Community archaeology, Ethnography, Institutional analysis, Public archaeology
Publication Number: 10844330
ISBN: 978-0-438-37128-6
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