Early registration ends October 20, 2013.

As members of the Society for Historical Archaeology, I would like to invite you to the Seventh World Archaeological Congress, held in Jordan from January 14 – 18 in 2013. WAC is a vital, diverse, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization which promotes world archaeology. It is our pleasure to remind SHA members that the WAC conference follows directly after the SHA conference in Leicester, UK (January 9-12) and that it is a relatively inexpensive flight away from the UK for attendees.

The World Archaeological Congress holds a dynamic, diverse, and international conference every four years, with a strong commitment to participation by indigenous and underrepresented voices. This Congress should hold particular interest for SHA members, as it is deeply involved in current issues that have near-universal importance in our profession.

Three sessions of particular interest to SHA members might be:

Session Title: Socially Sustainable Development
Organizers: Claire Smith, Flinders University, Australia and Sandra L.
Lopez de Varela, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Mexico

Throughout the world, cultural heritage is at risk, due to the pressures of development, population increases and urban growth. However, we lack much of the basic data and essential tools needed to address the ‘big picture’ challenges of heritage and development. We have not yet identified the most valuable ways of growing a workforce
around cultural heritage, or of building heritage capacity. We do not have the tools to evaluate the social and economic consequences of a loss of cultural heritage. Throughout the world, we are facing an irreversible loss of cultural heritage, without the data to understand what this might mean, not only in terms of lost pasts but also in
terms of lost futures.

This session will present case studies on ways to move forward. It will focus on how cultural heritage can be used to generate jobs, create a sense of connection between people, promote cross-cultural understandings, and contribute to social inclusion and wellbeing. It will present examples of new thinking around cultural landscapes,
development and communities; finding a balance between conservation and development; and using cultural heritage to sustain communities, especially in remote regions.

Decolonizing the Ranks: Using Indigenous and Decolonizing Pedagogies
in Teaching, Mentorship, and Training
Organizers: Sara L. Gonzalez (Carleton College), and Peter A. Nelson,
UC Berkeley (Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria)

Decolonization provides a process for thinking about the ways that our research can and does matter (and to whom?). It involves thinking through the wider implications of the craft of archaeology and examining how the process of interpreting and representing the past is both deeply meaningful and politically powerful. It also entails a willingness to think beyond the traditional scope of research, focusing not solely on the products or results of archaeology, but also on how the process of collaboration offers spaces to empower,
benefit, and advocate for communities. What results from asking a basic question—How and to whom will I make my research matter?—is something that is potentially transformative, for when we highlight our accountability to both discipline and community we change what the goal of science can and should be. Envisioned thusly, archaeology
becomes a tool for increasing our understanding of the past and our ability to empower individuals and communities through that knowledge.

In this session we will consider the role of decolonization in the classroom. We invite participants to examine how engaging with indigenous and/or decolonizing pedagogies has transformed the ways in which you train and mentor the next generation of heritage

Heritage as a ‘common’: a novel perspective on the entanglements of
culture and economy
University of los Andes, Colombia.

“The commons” has emerged in recent years as an exciting arena for the examination of multiple problematic ownership situations around the globe, and thus, of an exit from the simplistic dichotomy of “private” vs. “public” property. In the form of laws, the latter categories have wrought poverty and suffering on a globalized capitalist world.” Commons” can take multiple forms, from pre-industrial remnants in rural Europe to claims by Indigenous communities against Western corporate attempts to appropriate bio-knowledge in South America. Our symposium will discuss its implications in the field of heritage and archaeology. We encourage participants from around the world to share
their ideas in theoretical and empirical papers on the connections between archaeology, heritage and property relations, addressing questions such as:

  • Could “the commons” provide a way out of problematic issues of ownership and the public/private dichotomy?
  • What is the potential of “the commons” in the fight against the commodification of heritage?
  • How can the notion of a “shared” heritage be mobilized by local communities to implement politics of redistribution and rethinking of ownership against an alienated “world heritage” that frames itself as globally “shared” common heritage of humanity?
  • What are consequences of heritage as a commons for identity politics?

Early registration for WAC ends October 20th, register now!

We sincerely hope that you will consider participating in WAC-7!

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