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War in Cultural Context: Practice, Agency and the Archaeology of Conflict

October 16-20, 2004

Axel Nielsen and William Walker, Chairs
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Seminar Participants

  • Elizabeth Arkush, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Charles Cobb, Binghamton University, New York
  • Takeshi Inomata, University of Arizona
  • Laura Junker, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Kristian Kristiansen, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Eduardo Neves, Universidade de Sáo Paulo, Sáo Paulo, Brasil
  • Axel Nielsen, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina
  • Timothy Pauketat, University of Illinois, Urbana
  • John Topic, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
  • Theresa Topic, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Daniela Triadan, University of Arizona
  • William Walker, New Mexico State University
  • Polly Wiessner, University of Utah

Seminar Abstract

This seminar explored the study of conflict by analyzing war as a form of practice, i.e., as culturally informed and historically situated social action. This approach raises a number of theoretical and methodological issues that can be analytically grouped by reference to three general questions commonly addressed in the archaeological literature on war: (1) how was warfare practiced and understood in the past? (2) what were the causes and motivations for war? (3) what were the consequences of war?

Contributions to this seminar addressed various topics on the basis of archaeological, historical, and ethnographic data from societies of different scales and time periods around the world. In addition to these case-centered discussions, participants exchanged points of view and experiences with regard to broad topics raised by the study of warfare as a practice, namely, its relationships with religion, power, space, and identity.

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