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Challenging the Dichotomy: The Licit and the Illicit in Archaeological and Heritage Discourses

edited by Les Field, Joe Watkins and Cristobal Gnecco

University of Arizona Press, 2016


eISBN: 978-0-8165-3465-4

OA eISBN: 978-0-8165-4169-0

Cloth: 978-0-8165-3130-1

About the Book
Challenging the Dichotomy explores how dichotomies regarding heritage dominate the discourse of ethics, practices, and institutions. Examining issues of cultural heritage law, policy, and implementation, editors Les Field, Cristóbal Gnecco, and Joe Watkins guide the focus to important discussions of the binary oppositions of the licit and the illicit, the scientific and the unscientific, incorporating case studies that challenge those apparent contradictions.

Utilizing both ethnographic and archaeological examples, contributors ask big questions vital to anyone working in cultural heritage. What are the issues surrounding private versus museum collections? What is considered looting? Is archaeology still a form of colonialization? The contributors discuss this vis-à-vis a global variety of contexts and cultures from the United States, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, Honduras, Colombia, Palestine, Greece, Canada, and from the Nasa, Choctaw, and Maori nations.

Challenging the Dichotomy underscores how dichotomies—such as licit/illicit, state/nonstate, public/private, scientific/nonscientific—have been constructed and how they are now being challenged by multiple forces. Throughout the eleven chapters, contributors provide examples of hegemonic relationships of power between nations and institutions. Scholars also reflect on exchanges between Western and non-Western epistemologies and ontologies.

The book’s contributions are significant, timely, and inclusive. Challenging the Dichotomy examines the scale and scope of “illicit” forms of excavation, as well as the demands from minority and indigenous subaltern peoples to decolonize anthropological and archaeological research.
About the Author
Les Field is a professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico, where he is the chair of the Department of Anthropology.
Cristóbal Gnecco is a professor of anthropology at the Universidad del Cauca in Colombia. He is the editor of many books, including Indigenous Peoples and Archaeology in Latin America.

Joe Watkins is the supervisory anthropologist and chief of the Tribal Relations and American Cultures Program for the National Park Service. Previously, he was the director of the Native American Studies Program and an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma.
"Useful to anyone who is interested in the global trajectory and challenges of practicing archaeology."—Michael Wilcox, author of The Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest: An Indigenous Archaeology of Contact  

" Fascintating and important examples of peoples' relationships to heritage that crosscut and complicate institutionalized categories of 'licit' vs. 'illicit' or 'scientific' vs. 'folklore.'"—Alex Bauer, editor of Oxford Companion to Archaeology, 2nd Ed.

Archaeology and state, Dichotomy, Archaeology, Social Science
Open Access Information

License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0