AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Students
Program Number: 4-0815
Type: Invited Session
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sat., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): LISA LUCERO (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), CATHY COSTIN (California State University-Northridge) 
Chair(s): CATHY COSTIN (California State University-Northridge) 
2:00 PM: ELIZABETH DEMARRAIS -- Leadership, Political Economies, and Communities in the Past: How Well Do We Understand the Regional Polity?  
2:15 PM: RUDI COLLOREDO-MANSFELD (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) -- Power in the Middle: Structure and Materiality of Rival Political Systems Within Contemporary Nation States  
2:30 PM: JOHN SCHOENFELDER -- Materialization as Strategic Semiosis: The Creation and Control of Ideological Statements at Balinese Temples and Monuments  
2:45 PM: TERENCE D'ALTROY -- A Frank and Candid Exchange of ...  
3:30 PM: JAMES SNEAD, MICHAEL KOLB -- From Chaco Roads to the King's Road: Comparative Analysis of Landscapes of Movement  
3:45 PM: KENNETH KELLY (University of South Carolina) -- It Had Better Be More Than Cannonball Typologies: Historical Archaeology as Comparative Anthropology.  
4:00 PM: ROBERT PREUCEL (University of Pennsylvania) -- Postprocessual Archaeologies and the Pragmatic Critique  
4:45 PM: DISCUSSANT: ELIZABETH BRUMFIEL (Northwestern University)  
5:00 PM: DISCUSSANT: TIMOTHY EARLE (Northwestern University)  
5:30 PM: End of Session
Abstract: As a teacher, mentor, colleague and collaborator, Timothy K. Earle has had an enormous influence within archaeology and anthropology. Tim is among the most often-cited archaeologists working today. In large part, he achieved his authoritative position by taking a theory-driven, comparative approach to the workings of chiefly societies, conducting extensive research in Hawaii, Peru, Argentina, Denmark, Iceland, and Hungary. His work is foundational to contemporary studies of the emergence of complex society, the advent of social inequality, processes of political centralization, and the role of economic specialization in sociopolitical development. Above all, Tim has provided enormous insight into how ancient economies operate. Tim also achieved prominence by acting like a good chief. He mobilizes resources (data) from the commoners (his graduate students) and converts them into greater wealth: knowledge and understanding. But unlike many of the chiefs he studies, Tim’s career has been a model of system-serving redistribution, in the form of mentoring and solid support for those who work with him. He has provided career-making field opportunities to many students, and critical guidance to dozens more. Because he publishes so extensively, Tim’s influence reaches broadly across the discipline and around the world. Tim calls himself an economic anthropologist. But his work is much broader than that, because he uses economy as a lens through which to focus more broadly on issues of social organization and cultural practice. His commitment to a four-field approach has made his work accessible to countless anthropologists, and he’s even published in business journals, drawing an analogy between the behavior of foragers and that of corporate CEOs. In this session, Tim’s students, collaborators, and colleagues explore the diverse ways he has sparked, abetted, and promoted research on a whole host of issues relating to political economy in prehistory: agricultural and craft production, long-distance exchange, gender and the division of labor, mobilization and distribution, the emergence and maintenance of sociopolitical hierarchies, the nature of chiefly and kingly power, surplus production and political power, staple and wealth finance, risk management, warfare and competition, the relationship between ideology and economy (e.g., legitimating strategies), and [we’ll add more here, depending on the topics people choose to speak about]. While this list may seem impossible to cover by one scholar, the topics listed all tie back to Tim’s preliminary interest—and contribution—the political economy. How people acquired, maintained, and lost power in complex societies are topics Tim has addressed throughout his career. And rather than remain entrenched in singular thinking, he has appreciated other perspectives, and if well argued, incorporates them. His contribution to our understanding of political economies is the focus of this session. By bringing together his colleagues and former students, this session not only will honor a top-notch anthropologist, but also will provide a forum for current studies on political economies.


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