AIA-7G: Kinship Trouble: Traversing Interdisciplinary Boundaries between Archaeology, Archaeogenetics, and Socio-cultural Anthropology (Workshop)

  In-Person   AIA Session   Workshop


Sabina Cvecek, Austrian Archaeological Institute, Field Museum; Maanasa Raghavan, University of Chicago; and Penny Bickle, University of York


Penny Bickle, University of York; Eduardo Amorim, California State University; Beth K. Scaffidi, University of California; Jennifer Raff, University of Kansas; Peter Whiteley, American Museum of Natural History; and Sabina Cve?ek, Austrian Archeaological Institute/Field Museum of Natural History


While digging the evidence from the ground, the persistent problem archaeologists face is how the materiality of how the archaeological remains of domestic structures or “houses” relate to social constructs like “household.” Archaeologists use spatial organization of dwellings as a kind of code that can be used to reconstruct modes of dwelling in the past. From early on, cultural anthropologists have also understood that dwellings are central correlates of thought and social organization. With the rise of third science revolution in archaeology, however, understanding biological relations between individuals excavated from archaeological records has overshadowed the importance of dwelling and other archaeological contexts. Ancient DNA, extracted from archaeological individuals, is now taken as a window into the past to understand kinship practices and social relatedness. What kinship is and is not, however, has been an important question in cultural anthropology; a question that may not be possible to answer in universalist terms. Therefore, addressing kinship practices through particular case studies across space and time may allow us to build a more complete picture of which substances were crucial for construction of kinship and how was it constituted.

By considering cross-cultural, cultural anthropological insights on kinship, this workshop aims at discussing how interdisciplinary boundaries between archaeology, archaeogenetics, and cultural anthropology can be traversed. It asks specialists in each subdiscipline to imagine a future interdisciplinary collaboration and consider whether and why there is a value of traversing interdisciplinary boundaries. Is there a need for developing a common language of kinship? How can kinship be studied alongside gender, class, and material remains of dwellings? How can queer theories, intersectionality, and cross-cultural ethnographic examples further our understanding of kinship in the (deep) past?

This interdisciplinary workshop will be organized by three experts in archaeology, archaeogenetics, and cultural anthropology to debate the main issues of “kinship trouble” in archaeology. The workshop will lead toward developing new methodological and conceptual approaches toward addressing kinship in archaeology. Following a 10-minute introduction by the organizers, six speakers, two from each respective subdiscipline, will present their paper in a Pecha-Kucha format (max. seven minutes), followed by a five-minute discussion. After a 10-minute break, 80 minutes will be dedicated for the overall discussion. To facilitate an interdisciplinary dialogue, presenters will share their paper (approx. two pages) on their case studies and common concerns of kinship trouble, outlined above, a month before the AIA workshop.