||This paper seeks to address what its authors perceive as a growing disciplinary divide between cultural anthropology and archaeology. It is inspired primarily by two events that occurred at the 2009 AAA meeting. The first was a question posed to one of its authors as to why so few archaeologists attend the annual meeting. The second was a session at the meeting itself that the authors attended, in which the theoretical focus, language, and conclusions of the papers offered were obtuse and jargon–filled. The authors were left pondering the meaning and utility of the ideas presented in the session to their own research in both cultural anthropology and archaeology.
The authors regard these events as symptomatic of an increasing rift between their sub–fields. Too often, it appears that cultural anthropologists and archaeologists are not speaking the same language, despite a great deal of shared method and theory. To many archaeologists, current cultural anthropological discourse has become so infused with postmodern thought as to become nearly unintelligible and difficult to apply to archaeological research. In contrast, some cultural anthropologists feel that American archaeology has attempted to situate itself as a positivist science that has little use for cultural anthropology other than as a theory mill. Interdisciplinary dialogue has become somewhat sterile. Drawing on personal experience and current debate, the authors detail some of the origins and signs of this disciplinary divide, the importance of bridging an ever–widening gap, and offer suggestions on how the relationship may be repaired.