AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Students
Program Number: 4-0445
Type: Invited Session
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sat., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): CATHY COSTIN (California State University-Northridge), LISA LUCERO (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign) 
Chair(s): LISA LUCERO (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign) 
10:15 AM: LISA LUCERO (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), CATHY COSTIN (California State University-Northridge) -- Political Economies: The Legacy of Timothy K. Earle: Introductory Remarks  
10:30 AM: CHRISTINE HASTORF (University of California-Berkeley) -- Plant Use, Social Relations, and Studying With Tim Earle  
10:45 AM: KATHERINE KANNE (Northwestern University) -- Animating the Political Economy: Bringing Animals to the Table  
11:00 AM: CATHY COSTIN (California State University-Northridge) -- Attached or Independent  
11:15 AM: BRUCE OWEN (Sonoma State University) -- A Single Scale of Material Status  
11:30 AM: DOUGLAS BOLENDER (University of Massachusetts-Boston), JOHN STEINBERG (UMass Boston) -- Households, Commons, and Chiefs: The Curious Example of a Non-Extractive Political Economy From Iceland  
11:45 AM: MAGNUS ARTURSSON (Swedish National Heritage Board) -- The Long-House as a Transforming Agent. Emergent Complexity in Bronze Age Southern Scandinavia 2300-1300 BC  
12:00 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 anthropologists working today. In large part, he achieved his authoritative position by taking a theory-driven, comparative approach to the workings of the political economies of chiefdoms and complex 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, long distance exchange, and the role of economic specialization in sociopolitical development. Above all, Tim has provided enormous insight into how economies operate materially and culturally. 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. 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 has 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 including: agricultural and craft production, long-distance exchange, 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, the relationship between ideology and economy, and the materialization of ideology. 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, which reflects circulation par excellence because it deals with how people create and circulate goods and ideas to shape their social world. 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 and integrated other perspectives. His contribution to our understanding of political economies is the focus of this session. By bringing together his colleagues, collaborators and students, this session not only will honor a top-notch anthropologist, but also will provide a forum to discuss current trends in the study of political economies.


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