An archaeology of capitalism
Course Description Capitalism has been the focus of a great deal of social thinking and activity since the 18 thcentury. Understanding capitalism as both an economic and a cultural phenomenon has shed light on its inner workings as a system as well as guided strong criticisms of its effects on social reproduction, equality, and the sense of human nature, spirit, and subjectivity. Its significance has recently also been taken up as a focus for archaeological investigation. Archaeologies of
... alism, American and other modern state formations, urban growth, industrialization, and consumption have contributed important insights into the structures and experiences of capitalism. Critical thinking within the discipline has also posed the question of whether there can be an archaeology outside of capitalism and what role capitalism plays in defining the role of CRM or public archaeology as an industry. This course examines the archaeological approach to capitalism in theory and practice. The goal of the course is to both understand and historicize capitalism by examining how everyday lives were abruptly transformed by its emergence and elaboration. The course begins with a review of some of the principle theories that frame capitalism as a social and cultural problem. We then turn to explore the methods of historical archaeology, the findings and interpretations of the archaeological records of capitalism in various locales, and the history of archaeology within and against capitalism since the 19 th -century. This course provides an overview of the application of critical theory in archaeology and a survey of methods and finds relevant to understanding material lives in the recent past. Readings The are three required books for the course listed below. In addition there is a series of experts and articles that are listed in the course schedule which will be madder available on e-reserve. Two additional books are listed which are recommended as initial sources for the final research project.