AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
Program Number: 3-0830
Type: Session
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): MARK HAUSER (Northwestern University), CHARLES COBB 
Chair(s): ANN STAHL (University of Victoria) 
1:45 PM: RAHUL OKA (University of Notre Dame), CHAPURUKHA KUSIMBA -- Debt and Commercial Transactions in the Indian Ocean Economy: An Ethno-Archaeological Approach  
2:00 PM: DEBRA MARTIN (University of Nevada-Las Vegas), RYAN HARROD (University of Nevada-Las Vegas) -- Inscribed on the Body and Written in the Bones: The Human Debt of Female Captives  
2:15 PM: CHARLES COBB, KEITH STEPHENSON -- Conspicuous Indebtedness and the Theory of the Chiefly Class  
2:30 PM: YUNG-TI LI (Academia Sinica) -- The True Meaning of Kingly Gifts: Gift Granting and the Creation of Social and Political Obligations in Bronze Age China  
2:45 PM: ANN STAHL (University of Victoria) -- Debt & the Transactional Dynamics of Enslavement  
3:00 PM: REINHARD BERNBECK (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin) -- The Enigma of Hospitality  
3:45 PM: PATRICK WILLIAMS (The Field Museum) -- Tribute, Labor Debt, and the State in the Ancient Andes: Materializing Debt in the Wari Empire  
4:00 PM: JOHN STEINBERG (University of Massachusetts-Boston), DOUGLAS BOLENDER (University of Massachusetts-Boston) -- Hospitality, Debt, and Land Tenure in Viking Age Iceland  
4:15 PM: NEIL NORMAN (The University of Virginia) -- Drinking Debts: An Archaeology of Socio-Economic and Cosmological Exchange in the Bight of Benin Region, West Africa  
4:30 PM: MONICA SMITH (University of California-Los Angeles) -- The Social Enforcement of Debt at the Individual, Household, and Group Level  
4:45 PM: KRISTINA GUILD (Yale University), FRANCOIS RICHARD (University of Chicago) -- Genealogies of Debt: Material Reconfigurations of Labor, Wealth, and Social Investment in Senegal, 1100-1900 AD  
5:00 PM: DISCUSSANT: DAVID GRAEBER (Goldsmiths College, University of London)  
5:30 PM: End of Session
Abstract: Debt as a phenomenon highlights the mutual circulation of value and reciprocal obligations as well as their disjuncture. Papers in this panel examine the materiality and embodiment of debt in both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. Beyond viewing debt as a tool of emergent capitalism in this panel we invited presenters to explore the role that debt plays in shaping the material world from across a variety of past and present contexts in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Specifically papers look at the different frames through which debt can be analyzed; debt's effects as a system of transaction; debt's relationship to power; and the ways in which we can extend these ideas in an analytically useful way beyond the documented and recent past.

Two themes will be explored in this session. The first group of papers explore debt moments, where debt as an institution or frame of reference is created. These papers examine interactions where systems of valuation in the circulation of things break down and lead to potential fields of debt. The second group of papers explore, debt effects. These papers use debt as a lens to examine interactions imbricating different histories of labor, circulation, and use/value. Implicit in both the morning and afternoon sessions are the question: what are the material consequences of debt and can we recover it archaeologically?


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