Archaeological Encounters: Ethics and aesthetics under the mark of the Anthropocene

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What legitimizes archaeological work in an age of global climate change, socio-political crises and economic recession? On what topics should archaeology focus its research questions, and what forms of archaeological engagement are not merely justifiable but able to make a difference in light of such challenges? Today, there is a tendency, we argue, that archaeological responses to current challenges are expected to align with a specific mode of conduct, political stance and genre, where, for example, a very particular notion of activism, responsibility and ethics is dominating. There is no denial that current challenges call for immediate instrumental reactions, but we contend that valuable reactions can – or even must – vary, and that more fundamental and slow ontological and epistemological change should also be nested within these responses. In this article, we explore what it means to care – what it means to be concerned – in the Anthropocene through archaeological practice and aesthetic engagement. By highlighting the relations between ethics and aesthetics, we explore ways in which we get in touch with the objects of concern, placing undecidability and speculation as dispositions equally important to urgency and impact.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchaeological Dialogues
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)50-67
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Ethics, Aesthetics, Archaeology, The Anthropocene Era, Speculation, Posthumanism, Feminism

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