AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Program Number: 5-0165
Type: Session
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sun., 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
8:15 AM: DEANNA RIDDICK -- Deconstructing Biologically Based Myths and Remembering Ancient Maya Women  
8:30 AM: CASEY HANSON -- Texas Memory and the Materiality of a Tejano Identity  
9:00 AM: MARIA MARTINEZ -- The Creation of a Place of Remembrance: La Milpa Belize  
9:15 AM: NEDRA LEE -- RIP Bull Hill Cemetery: Examining the Confluence of Race and Memory in the Preservation of a Historic Black Cemetery  
9:45 AM: End of Session
Abstract: Memory has increasingly become an important and burgeoning subject in archaeological inquiry. Concerns about the decolonization of archaeological practice have stimulated the study of social memory in an effort to give voice to silenced and alleged inaccessible pasts, thus-highlighting the politics of representation in writing the past and elucidating the intersections of power and identity in the creation of place. Archaeologists have particularly engaged with memory in household and landscape studies to expand on conventional theories of power and identity formation. Household and landscape archaeological studies offer holistic approaches to connecting the individual with broader political and economic processes; these provide multiple scales of analysis of social relationships, interactions and collective behavior. This session highlights the difficulties that archaeologists face in working with memory to deconstruct hegemonic narratives in Mesoamerica and Texas. Both Mesoamerica and Texas offer a unique opportunity to discuss the confluence of memory with archaeological efforts to document the past. This opportunity extends from the fact that there is a crisis in historical representation in these areas. Archaeological practice in Mesoamerica is limited by a methodology that assumes that memory is inaccessible in the past. While historical archaeology has successfully incorporated the study of memory into its methodology, archaeologists in Texas have often struggled with the multiple perspectives of the past that contest dominant myths and narratives. This panel seeks to confront divergent ways that archaeologists in Mesoamerica and Texas have approached memory in their inquiries and seeks to present alternative practices. This panel places a special emphasis on historically disenfranchised groups including Maya women, Tejanos and Black Texans. The papers comprise a contextualized, multi-discliplinary and politicized approach to preserving a multivocal past. Casey Hanson explores archival and archaeological records in constructing and circulating a dynamic Tejano identity. Deanna Marie Riddick examines how political archaeological agendas have rendered Maya women invisible by writing them out of constructions of the past and removing them from the dominant Maya memory. Nedra Lee discusses the subsumed memories of black landownership and entrepreneurship comprised within a historic African American cemetery in Falls County, Texas. Maria Martinez critically explores functionalist interpretations of monumental architecture at La Milpa, Belize which preclude understandings of the use of memory by elite rulers in asserting their power. This panel aspires to encourage an analytical study of social memory in historic Texas and prehistoric Mesoamerica. The approaches presented in this panel have major social implications for how history is written, how power is explored and how dominant social memories circulate.


If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at