Lecture by Kent Fowler: “The Zulu Way: Confronting the Ethnographic Reality of Pottery Style, Technology, and Communities of Practice”

Style is a concept so fundamental in archaeology that the discipline could not exist without it. Defining repetitive ways of doing things is the basis for linking variation in material culture to groups of people and understanding relationships amongst groups across space and through time.

New dialogues in archaeology are pushing past equating style with groups by exploring how ways of doing things correspond to “communities.” For nearly two decades, Dr. Fowler has worked with Zulu potters from South Africa to understand how webs of practices, places and identities impact stylistic expression and distinguish communities. The ethnographic reality is that pottery styles and practices sometimes correlate with the physical boundaries of real social groups, but more often they do not.

Vignettes of Zulu pottery manufacture illustrate this reality, what archaeologists must do to identify past communities of practice, and the role museum collections play in the archaeology of identity.

Support for this event is generously provided from the Howe Fund, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Africana and Latin American Studies Program.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Persson Hall, Auditorium (027)


Culture, Academics, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences

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