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STAGING DEATH: FUNERARY PERFORMANCE, ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPE IN THE AEGEAN

2nd circular and call for publication papers

A recent colloquium at the 113th Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting (Philadelphia,January 5-8, 2012) explored the notion of funerary place as an intuitive concept with which to approach landscapes, buildings, bodies, societies and identities in the Aegean. In this espoused ‘archaeology of place’, funerary monuments may be regarded as an intrinsic part of the human landscape. The built and unbuilt environments together form social, lived, ideational landscapes inhabited by people. Funerary places are not fossils of past behavior frozen in time through construction and the deposition of bodies, but are inherently performative: they are continuously reworked, revamped, rebuilt, remembered, or turned to ruins, obliterated, abandoned, and forgotten.

Recent scholarship in the Aegean attempts to move beyond a perceived divide between nature and culture, object and subject, body and mind, focusing on the multisensorial, somatic, social/intersubjective experience of mortuary place; the study of funerary landscape and architecture as abstract behavior and space, is being tempered with experience and a sense of place, while there is a growing interest in interpreting landscape as something other than a passive backdrop of behavior or specular representation.The colloquium sought to identify directions for further research along these lines of inquiry; and to expand upon themes of study such as the use of funerary monuments as arenas for social and political competition, as instruments for the proclamation or contestation of status,and as vehicles for the legitimization of power and ancestral rights.

We are now soliciting papers for an edited volume that will address questions such as these:

· Affordances of place:What determines locality? What are some affordances and potentialities of particular landscapes? How do landscape configurations create distance and difference? Might some of these affordances and their perception be cross-cultural and universal, or are they entirely context-specific?

· ‘Landscaped’ buildings, ‘architectonic’ landscapes: What do inherent, sensible qualities of the landscape (e.g. forms, color and texture) impart on the experience of built space? To the extent that the environment is also a source of building materials, what can we say about the qualities of the latter as architectonized pars pro toto of landscape? How do buildings mimic, incorporate, substitute, subvert, compete with landscape? How does landscape structure and compete with architectural arrangements?

· Movement and interplaces: How does movement, directionality, and approach construct ‘flows of the mind’ in a given context? What kinds of spatial stories are created through architectural design, structured movement, different perspective or sequence of approach?How can we better understand ‘interplaces’, i.e. the pathways between settlements and cemeteries, different cemeteries, different tombs within cemeteries, and the various spatialities of the tomb?

· Places and bodies: How are bodies contained within buildings and the pathways that connect them? Can buildings be seen to function as surrogates of people’s bodies? What might some anthropomorphic and human-metaphoric qualities of buildings and landscapes be?

· Beyond the specular: Can we do more than just ‘look at’ buildings, and sense them as well by incorporating soundscapes, feelscapes etc.? How can we augment the specular paradigm of architectural study? Can we regard ‘monumentality’, permanence and quality of construction from a perspective other than conspicuous consumption and the display of power?

· Modes of containment and knowledge: How does architecture structure taskscapes and guide social practice? How does architecture include or exclude, group or ungroup, constrain or allow, reveal or conceal? What do modes of containment tell us about participation and the control of knowledge? How do funerary places mediate and manage specialized knowledge?

· Aesthetics and politics of the hidden: What are some ludic qualities of architectural design? How are the dynamics of presence/absence, welcome/exclusion, familiarity/risk, knowledge/ignorance deployed, and what other dynamics might be relevant in context? Does architectural design cultivate an aesthetics of the hidden and for what purpose?

· Boundaries and divisions: What are the metaphoric and liminal associations the built environment, such as processional accesses, entrances, thresholds? What kinds of worlds do entrance divide and blend? What is the source and nature of culture-specific hidden imaginaries beyond? What do boundaries do to ‘porous places’?In what sense can we speak of ‘homes’ and ‘cities of the dead’ in the Aegean? How does verisimilitude help create unitary spaces of human experience? What are some purposes of architectural isomorphism in specific contexts?

· Biographies and memory: How are biographies of monuments constituted through revisitations, alterations, obliterations? What is the afterlife of places, if any, in the notional landscapes of memory? What explains particular topophilias or topophobias? Why are some places ‘more persistent’ than others?How are mnemoscapes constructed? How do funerary places retain their cognitive ‘stickiness’ when not in sight? What is special about walking in or reusing ruins and ‘abandoned’ places?

· Contested places: If places are maintained, when and why are they questioned? What alternate meanings might arise from the point of view of exclusion? What do the landscapes and places of resistance look and feel like? How does place construct identity? How do autotopographies emerge and how might they acquire intersubjective status?

· Performance: Can we incorporate notions of ‘performance’ into a holistic approach to the structuring of mortuary ritual within the enabling and constraining aspects of buildings and topography?

Scholars with proposals related to the prehistoric and early Iron Age Aegean are encouraged to submit an abstract of about 300-400 words to Anastasia Dakouri-Hild and Michael Boyd, at stagingdeath AT gmail.com by October 1st, 2012. Authors will be notified by October 30th. The deadline for full-length submissions of accepted proposals is May 30, 2013 (8,000-10,000 words; more details TBA). Full-length submissions will be subject to peer-reviewing by the publisher and thus are not guaranteed inclusion in the volume.

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