Marie Elizabeth Elizabeth Grávalos

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Grant number

Gr. CONF-945

Approve Date

September 5, 2023

Project Title

Grávalos, Marie (Independent Scholar) "Political Geologies Past and Present: Ontology, Knowledge, and Affect"

This workshop traces political geologies in the past and present to unsettle how archaeologists grapple with landscape, earthly materials, and politics. How are earth sciences, such as archaeology and geology, political? And in what ways do earthly materials co-create politics? A political geology responds to such queries, emphasizing that knowledge about and the categorization of geo-materials is always rooted in particular historic and ontological frameworks. Geo-materials are affective and dynamic themselves, and thus hold meaningful roles that vary cross-culturally, which can lead to conflict between discrete stakeholders. At issue are the multiple perspectives on what geomaterials are and who has the power to define, utilize, consult, and protect them. This workshop brings together scholars working across diverse temporal and cultural milieu to consider the salience of political geology in archaeological practice and interpretation. We query the ways in which archaeological remains, such as ceramics or industrial waste, not only represent particular kinds of geological know-how, but also power relationships. We consider what epistemological frameworks might help us better understand and describe ontological and political conflicts in the archaeological record. By thinking through these problems, we aim to craft a representative and equitable archaeology.