AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: WRITING AGAINST COLLAPSE
Author: SEVERIN FOWLES (Barnard College)   
Date/Time: Thu., 10:15 AM
Co-Author(s): SEVERIN FOWLES (Barnard College) 
Abstract: Whatever else Jared Diamond may have accomplished in his last book, he has succeeded in drawing our attention to the profoundly ideological nature of “collapse” within Western master narratives. Here I offer a response, less to Diamond than to Professor Yoffee’s own response to Diamond. Where Yoffee and colleagues (McAnany and Yoffee, ed. 2010) have recently countered Diamond’s book by stressing human resilience and regeneration in the face of major social disruptions, I advocate a different strategy. Resilience, in the end, is more a sequel than an alternative to the story of collapse. I suggest, instead, that we plus the minus, wipe collapse free of the stigma of undesirability, and make greater space for those reductions of organizational scale and complexity that were purposefully choreographed. In doing so, I look to the thirteenth century movement away from Chacoan organization in the American Southwest as a key example of what Deleuze and Guattari might call the act of deterritorialization, a step sideways to subvert centralized hierarchies and the systems of domination they support. Such simplifying and decentralizing moves may have been much more common in the past than previously acknowledged, precisely because archaeologists have been so ready to cloak them in the false rhetoric of collapse.

Program Number: 2-0225
Session Title: COUNTERNARRATIVES OF STATE, CIVILIZATION, AND HISTORY: PAPERS IN HONOR OF NORMAN YOFFEE
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): GEOFF EMBERLING, ADAM SMITH (University of Chicago), LORI KHATCHADOURIAN (Cornell University) 
Chair(s): GEOFF EMBERLING, ADAM SMITH (University of Chicago), LORI KHATCHADOURIAN (Cornell University)  
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