Archaeology and the politics of pedagogy
World Archaeology, 36, (2), . (doi:10.1080/0043824042000261031).
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It is argued here that pedagogy, rather than being a passive process of delivery, is part of the field of cultural politics, a contested domain, a public sphere where knowledges, views and perceptions on the past and the present are debated and contested, or valorized, reproduced and legitimized. Recent archaeological theory has neglected the field of pedagogy, which, as a result, has been largely colonized by the instrumentalist discourse, in its new, market-oriented reincarnation. This dominant view of archaeological pedagogy is presented in objectified, neutral terms as the natural, inevitable course of affairs: it has become the 'doxic' regime that is presented as being beyond criticism at its core, save for peripheral managerial points. Archaeology, however, has the ability to undermine this objectified discourse by showing the contingency, historicity, and the inevitably transient and unstable nature of the present-day pedagogical regime in archaeology. Current instrumentalist pedagogy, despite its dominance, does not go unchallenged. One way of challenging it is by devising pedagogical processes that create a space for critical reflection, reconnect subjectivity and experience with knowledge, and allow students not only to understand the material and social processes that generate and reproduce their own subjectivity, but also question and even transform these processes and conditions. Student-centred journals that promote critical reflexivity are an example of one such pedagogic process. This paper presents the experience of the author in using such a device in the teaching of a course on the archaeology and anthropology of eating and drinking.
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