Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-5535-7 • Hardback • October 2017 • $100.00 • (£77.00)
978-1-4985-5536-4 • eBook • October 2017 • $95.00 • (£73.00)
Melissa R. Baltus is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Toledo.
Sarah E. Baires is an assistant professor of anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Chapter 1: A Relational Geography of Humans and Animals on the Arctic Coast of Alaska by Erica Hill
Chapter 2: The government of dogs: Archaeological (zo)ontologies by Peter Whitridge
Chapter 3: A Procession of Faces: Considering the Materiality of Relational Ontologies in Southern Florida by Matthew Colvin and Victor D. Thompson
Chapter 4: Vessels of Change: Everyday relationality in the rise and fall of Cahokia by Melissa R. Baltus
Chapter 5:How Animistic Entities Make History: Maya Materialities and Spiritualities over the Longue Durée by Christina Halperin
Chapter 6:Getting to the Soul of Personhood: A Survey of Historic Woodland and Plains Indian Ontologies and a Critique of the Notion of a Hopewellian “Religion" by Christopher Carr, Heather Smyth, and Brianna Rafidi
Relational Engagements of the Indigenous Americas: Alterity, Ontology, and Shifting Paradigms asks and attempts to answer some of the big questions facing archaeology today: what is impact and role of the ontological turn in archaeological interpretations of the Indigenous Americas? How are we to understand and recognize multiple forms of agency and animacy? And how can archaeology approach the ontological turn without engaging in neocolonial theorizing that erases, ignores, or claims ownership over Indigenous epistemologies? Baltus and Baires’s volume advances archaeological theorizing about relationality and multiple ontologies in the past and the present. The diverse case studies highlight the vibrancy of past lifeworlds in new and exciting ways.
— Meghan E. Buchanan, Auburn University
In this volume, Melissa R. Baltus and Sarah E. Baires have brought together a group of scholars whose works reflects the state-of-the-art in theoretical debates around relational ontologies. This is a rapidly growing and multidisciplinary literature, but what marks this volume out as so distinctive is the degree to which all the contributors have thoughtfully engaged with the recent critiques of how indigeneity has been presented in relational theory. The result is a timely and sophisticated collection of essays that offers a significant step forward in our conceptualization of Indigenous pasts. Researchers and students working in this area who have not yet read it will quickly find themselves out of date.
— Darryl Wilkinson, University of Cambridge
Melissa R. Baltus and Sarah E. Baires have assembled a set of papers that engage with the relational turn in contemporary archaeology by forefronting the reciprocal relationships between persons and other than-persons and things in Precolumbian North America. This volume challenges scholars to shift their focus beyond human-centered explanatory models and to incorporate the agency and ontologies of animals, objects, minerals, and other non-human social beings. The result is an invitation to understand past worlds in terms of a dense web of active engagements which push disciplinary conventions and the creation of knowledge about the North American past into new and exciting areas.
— Jennifer Birch, University of Georgia
Relational ontologies provide a unique and powerful framework for examining the intersecting social lives of things, persons, animals, non-human agents, and places. The promise of relational ontologies lies in the possibility of accounting for, and ethically addressing, the knowledge and lifeways of Indigenous communities whose histories we consider. Early archaeological uses of these concepts were largely derivative of the social theory, and indigenous groups, that inspired them. This volume successfully demonstrates that archaeology’s material focus provides a unique space for exploring how relational ontologies are generative of diverse and complex social histories amid an array of actors, human and otherwise. The editors and contributing authors provide compelling and highly readable accounts that showcase the diversity of ancient and contemporary human and non-human social relations, but of equal importance, they provide readers with new concepts and methods for exploring the histories and lifeworlds of ancient communities.
— Asa R. Randall, University of Oklahoma