Chandra Reedy

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Delaware, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9247

Approve Date

April 8, 2016

Project Title

Reedy, Dr. Chandra L., U. of Delaware, Newark, DE - To aid research on 'Factors Supporting Experimentation at Highly Innovative Ethnographic Pottery Production Sites'

Preliminary abstract: This project addresses a key question in how and why technological change occurs: How does positive acceptance of experimentation and innovation become an established strategy for a social group? Research will focus on a highly innovative pottery community in Sichuan Province, China, where a unique burnt coal-clay material is fired with equipment and processes seen nowhere else. The study of long-term technological change requires identifying and explaining a complex set of environmental, social, cultural, and economic factors involved in initiating and sustaining innovation. The central hypothesis is that positive acceptance of experimentation occurs when communities of practice related to resource procurement, production, and consumption networks are engaged in regular problem-solving interactions. The resource procurement community involving potters and their burnt coal sources will be studied through mapping, interviews, and oral history. The production communities will be studied at several scales: the larger Sichuan Basin, a network of many adjacent workshops at Yingjing in central Sichuan, and individual workshops and their specialists. Two hypotheses address apprenticeship interactions, and two the production processes themselves. Data to evaluate these hypotheses include mapping workshop layouts and interactions, observations, participation, interviews and oral history, selected photography and videography, and materials analyses to reveal performance characteristics and functional advantages of production choices. The consumption community studies will examine problem-solving interactions between potters and the consumers whose needs they aim to meet. Hypotheses focus on explaining sustained support of the experimentation required for long-term technological change, with the aim of producing a model that can be tested archaeologically.