AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: THEORIZING COMPARATIVE DIASPORAS: A CRITICAL MATERIALIST APPROACH
Author: STEPHEN BRIGHTON (University of Maryland)   
Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM
Co-Author(s): STEPHEN BRIGHTON (University of Maryland) 
Abstract: Diaspora is a contested term because of its connotation of victimization. Once it was used to define the history of Jewish dispersal. Today the term diaspora is employed in reference to numerous immigrant or migrant groups. The applicability of the word has come into question because of its overuse labeling international movement. Currently, the study of diasporic groups in anthropology is moving in a new direction striving to reposition and rethink the meaning and use of the term. In this context the importance rests with working on larger scales of reference illuminating patterns or commonalities amongst diasporic groups. In archaeology the term is not employed critically however, but is simply viewed as epiphenomenal. This a-theoretical structure downplays its role in the discourse of power relations when studying conflict and negotiation of social identity, injustices and racialization, as well as gender and class bias. This paper represents a larger research program seeking to bring historical and material data from diverse diasporic groups such as African, Irish, and Chinese, to critically evaluate similar patterns of social, political, and economic relations and experiences. The use of theory from contemporary anthropology can provide the necessary framework to move past traditional concepts of assimilation and resistance and towards a dynamic discourse uncovering the materialization of experienced racialization and levels of alienation, incorporation, and transnationalism.

Program Number: 2-0060
Session Title: HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE NEW WORLD: POWER, DIASPORA, ARCHITECTURE, AND CIRCULATION
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Organizer(s): ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM COMMITTEE (AAA) 
Chair(s): ROBBIE ETHRIDGE (University of Mississippi)  
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