Historiography and Theories of Archaeology

larko2231  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Historiography and Theories of Archaeology
5.00 credits
30.0 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2022-2023
Cavalieri Marco; Driessen Jan; Letesson Quentin (compensates Cavalieri Marco);
Main themes
The Histories of Archaeology (A) module explores the major currents that have marked archaeology over the centuries and anticipates the logical link with Module B. Historiography traces a history of new ideas, methods and discoveries that have shaped archaeology as a discipline. The objective of the course is to explore selected turning points in the history of archaeology in order to understand how the discipline has responded to cultural changes and the mechanisms of adaptation of societies. The historiographical analysis will be broken down into three fundamental phases: speculative, modern, and categorizing.
The Theories of archaeology (B) module examines the origin, nature and development of the major theoretical approaches in archaeology and replaces them within the wider school of thoughts and theoretical agendas that characterized the evolution of humanities and social sciences. It also offers an exploration of today's multiple archaeologies, while considering and questioning the nature of archaeological data and praxis. In an epistemological perspective, it also sheds light on the importance of critical thinking for the evaluation and construction of scientific argumentation.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

(A) General training in the historiography of archaeology in the Western world from antiquity to the 20th century
(B) General formation on the major theoretical trends shaping archaeological practice and interpretation from the end of the 19th century to the present day
(A) The objective of the course is to explore the historiographical milestones that have influenced and shaped the discipline of archaeology from antiquity to the most recent scientific and technical developments. A few introductory lecture sessions present the most important concepts and facts in the history of archaeology, which then allow for discussion sessions to debate how to write archaeology and illustrate its changes. The aim is to place the discourses and practices of archaeological historiography in their respective societies, and to relate the written productions of the archaeological discipline to their spatio-temporal contexts, to academic debates, to political issues, to social worlds.
(B) The module aims at outlining the history of ideas and their impact on archaeology as a discipline. The two ex-cathedra opening classes focus on epistemology and on an introduction to the philosophy of sciences but also on the socio-cultural contextualization of the birth of modern archaeology (the so-called 'cultural history'). In a second time, the class approaches the fiery debates between processual and postprocessual archaeology, echoing a wider epistemological schism in the humanities and social sciences between modern and postmodern viewpoints. The third part of the class features more eclectic sessions dealing with key themes of today's archeology: relation between fieldwork and theory, memory, materiality, distributed agency, feminism and gender, contemporary material remains and archaeology of the present, etc. For each theme, the discussion fosters a critical reading of central concepts and theoretical arguments and discusses their broader socio-cultural context and principal actors and tenants.
Teaching methods
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.
Ex-cathedra sessions followed by interactive discussion sessions where student's interventions are supervised by the teacher. These sessions are to be prepared by the students on the basis of a portfolio of journal articles and book chapters complemented with a questionnaire.
Evaluation methods
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.
Mainly continuous evaluation (participation in discussion sessions); a final paper is also due at the end of the classes; no exam.
Chaque séance-débat est axée sur un portefeuille d'articles théoriques et/ou de chapitres d'ouvrages spécialisés dont la lecture est obligatoire. Une bibliographie complémentaire est également remise aux étudiant(e)s.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Master [120] in Anthropology

Master [120] in History of Art and Archaeology : General

Master [60] in History of Art and Archaeology : General