Spring 2012, Monday 3:00-5:45
Cavanaugh 411
Dr. Paul Mullins
Office Hours: Monday 12:00-3:00, Tuesday 3:00-6:00
Office: Cavanaugh 413B (274-9847)

Course Links

Course Outline

This course examines the intellectual foundations of archaeological research and studies how material culture is archaeologically theorized, investigated, and evaluated. The course focuses on the theoretical foundations of archaeological research and examines the subjects archaeologists typically study, the methods and techniques used to analyze material culture, and archaeological discourse. We will study the diversity of archaeological thought, examine interdisciplinary approaches to material culture research, and probe the breadth of material culture scholarship. The class stresses archaeology's broad intellectual foundation, encourages creative thinking about objects, and examines how anthropologists can develop and conduct rigorous and innovative material culture research.

Grading

Course grading will be derived from a journal review exercise (20%), an Ebay artifact analysis (25%), a class presentation and reading response paper on a course reading (5%), a self-reflection paper on archaeology (10%), attendance (5%), a collection analysis (25%), and a final exam (10%).  The final exam will be an open-book, open-notes, take-home essay.

A short self-reflection paper worth 10% of the course grade is due on January 30.  The brief questions should begin to help us individually and collectively think about what we know about archaeology and archaeologists and how we define the significance of material culture and archaeology in the contemporary world.

A vast amount of archaeological material culture is today sold on the internet, especially on EBay, and this EBay analysis examines the ethical dimensions of exchanging antiquities and archaeological material culture online.  The ethical dimensions of EBay and online marketing are complicated:  Some of the objects traded on Ebay may well be hawked by somebody who recovered those things illegally; however, many archaeological artifacts reach the internet with their actual acquisition completely unknown to their sellers, and some are excavated legally, depending on the maze of international, state, and local preservation ordinances attempting to protect particular goods.  In this project you will choose three artifacts now being sold on EBay and examine the ethical dimensions of these objects' sale.  For instance, is the sale of these goods clearly illegal?; is it potentially breaking laws?; even if it is legal, is it "right"?; whose culture is being bought and sold with certain objects, and is this simply the reality of modern marketing?; and what are the implications of having objects such as these for sale in an open market?  The paper is worth 20% of the course grade and due February 13. 

Batman Robot

The journal review exercise (15% of the final grade) will survey a year of a major peer-reviewed journal (at least four issues) that either focuses on material culture or has archaeological implications. This includes, but is not strictly limited to, journals such as American Antiquity, Antiquity, assemblage, Historical Archaeology, Industrial Archaeology, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Internet Archaeology, Journal of Social Archaeology, Winterthur Quarterly, and Journal of Material Culture. Peer-reviewed means that all papers in the journal are reviewed by outside scholars prior to their publication, so popular magazines are not acceptable; if you have any question about whether the journal you wish to review is indeed peer-reviewed, please contact me. If you choose any journal other than those included here, it must be approved by me beforehand.  You will analyze issues including the sort of research topics the journal covers, the utility of the journal to material culture research, and whether the journal is actually interesting. You should be prepared to go to libraries in the area, access journals that have electronic as well as text versions, or peruse electronic journals (e.g., assemblage). Usually completed reviews are about five to ten double-spaced pages in length.  The assignment is worth 20% of your semester grade.  It is due March 5.

The class presentation and reading response (5%) will summarize a course reading in class. A list of course readings will be available on the web page and requests can be made via email to present any readings on a first-come first-serve basis.  Presentations should be relatively informal, succinct summaries of an article and analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.  You will be responsible for producing a succinct, organized outline that summarizes the reading that you present.  You must provide me with that typed outline and a minimum of five questions that you plan to discuss in class.

The class meets 15 times, and all students who miss one or no class meetings will receive the full 5% attendance score.  Students missing two or more classes will be penalized one point for each class they meet.  For instance, if a student missed two classes, they would receive four of the five points, if they missed three they would receive three of the five points, and so on.  I will not count excused absences against your attendance grade.  An excused absence is an illness for which you have written documentation from a physician; any other requests to excuse an absence--flat tires, sleeping late, karmic convergences--must be made to me in writing (email is fine) and must be acknowledged as excused in writing from me.

The semester's term project (25%) will be an analysis of a material collection.  The paper should demonstrate your understanding and application of systematic material analysis methods as well as your ability to interpret the concrete social and political purposes served by various collections of material things.  You can choose to analyze almost any reasonably coherent assemblage of material things:  It may be a  serialized assemblage of objects from a single material universe--vintage Pee Wee Herman toys, shot glasses from every bar your neighbor has visited, an art museum's showing of its impressionist collection--or it could be an assemblage of similar things that somehow ended up as a collective--like all the stuff stuck to your neighbor's refrigerator door.  A proposal is due February 20 that briefly identifies the subject and the collector(s) you plan to work with; I will not accept any papers whose subjects have not already been approved.  The final project is due April 16th. Graduate students will be expected to complete a collections analysis that is a minimum of 20 pages in length.  I will require that you meet with me or electronically submit a draft at least three weeks prior to the deadline.  Graduate students will be required to complete all other course requirements as outlined in the syllabus.

A basic requirement of this course is that you will participate in class and conscientiously complete writing and reading assignments.  If you miss more than half our class meetings within the first four weeks of the semester without contacting me, you will be administratively withdrawn from this section. Our class meets once per week; thus if you miss more than two classes in the first four weeks, you may be withdrawn. Administrative withdrawal may have academic, financial, and financial aid implications. Administrative withdrawal will take place after the full refund period, and if you are administratively withdrawn from the course you will not be eligible for a tuition refund. If you have questions about the administrative withdrawal policy at any point during the semester, please contact me.

Unavoidable Realities

If you cannot complete an assignment on time for any reason, you are responsible for contacting me as soon as possible. Late assignments will be penalized a letter grade for each day they're late if you do not negotiate an extension with me beforehand or at the earliest possible opportunity.  You can leave printed assignments in my mailbox, or you can email me assignments as attachments. 

I prefer assignments be in Word format.  Be absolutely certain to keep a copy of any emailed assignments you send to me should the email disappear or not arrive at my end, and save every single assignment in two places:  Don't just save it on your laptop or a thumb drive, since they can crash, get lost, or be purloined by somebody who undervalues your commitment to education.  Even if you miss a due date, contact me so that you can complete a partial credit makeup: to miss any assignments is, at best, mathematically ill-advised.  Even if it is embarrassing to acknowledge that you simply forgot an assignment due date or your boss unexpectedly demanded a long shift when you planned to do the assignment, please come see me and I will do my very best to resolve in some way that doesn't mean you receive no credit at all.

This final syllabus posted at the beginning of the semester will include deadlines for all assignments and test dates: it is your responsibility to know when assignments are due and tests are scheduled. There will not be any extra credit material. If you do not complete course work by semester's end you will receive no credit for unfinished work unless you have negotiated a legitimate reason for an extension with either me or the Dean of Student Affairs.   You can monitor your grades over the semester on Oncourse.

All work in the course is conducted in accordance with the University’s academic misconduct policy.  Cheating includes dishonesty of any kind with respect to exams or assignments. Plagiarism is the offering of someone else’s work as your own: this includes taking un-cited material from books, web pages, or other students, turning in the same or substantially similar work as other students, sneaking a peek at the neighbor's exam, or failing to properly cite other research.  If you are suspected of any form of academic misconduct you will be called in for a meeting at which you will be informed of the accusation and given adequate opportunity to respond.  A report will be submitted to the Dean of Students, who will decide on further disciplinary action.  Please consult the University Bulletin’s academic misconduct policy or me if you have any questions.

Be absolutely certain to keep a copy of any emailed assignments you send to me should the email disappear or not arrive at my end, and save every single assignment in two places until grades have been assigned:  Don't just save it on your laptop or one thumb drive, since they can crash, get lost, or be purloined by somebody who undervalues your commitment to education, and do not delete assignments instantly after their due date until their grades have been posted to Oncourse.  Even if you miss a due date, contact me so that you can complete a partial credit makeup.  Even if it is embarrassing to acknowledge that you simply forgot an assignment due date or your boss unexpectedly demanded a long shift when you planned to do the assignment, please come see me and I will do my very best to resolve it in some way that doesn't mean you receive no credit at all.

The Office of Adaptive Educational Services (AES) ensures that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations from the University and their professors.  Students must register with the AES office in order to receive such services.

Portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, pagers, two-ways, and PDA’s, should be turned off before entering the classroom.  You can use a laptop in class for note-taking but should silence it; do not surf the web in class or listen to ITunes.  Let me know in advance if you carry around a communication device for familial reasons (e.g., pregnancy monitoring, disabled family, or contact with kids--not to stay in touch with a significant other who just loves your voice, buddies planning a pub crawl, and so on).  Anyone whose electronic device continually disturbs class will be asked to meet with me if they cannot remember to silence themselves.

The classroom is a safe speech situation in which it is your responsibility to treat other classmates fairly and with mutual respect, even if they have the audacity to disagree with you, champion an opinion that is inconsistent with your worldview, or simply bore you.  Anyone who talks when someone else is talking, is hostile, or otherwise violates classroom etiquette (e.g., does other homework, reads the newspaper) will be considered to be in violation of this policy.  Students who fail to adhere to these guidelines will be asked to meet with me.

All work in this course is intended to fulfill the University's Principles of Undergraduate Learning.  The class focuses on critical, self-reflective thinking, integrates knowledge from a variety of disciplinary and sociocultural perspectives, examines social and cultural complexity, and probes the impact of knowledge on our everyday decision-making.  Do let me know if the course does not satisfy any of the missions included in the Principles.

There are a number of campus-wide policies governing the conduct of courses at IUPUI. These can be found at the Registrar's Course Policies page.

A basic requirement of this course is that you will participate in class and conscientiously complete writing and reading assignments.  If you miss more than half our class meetings within the first four weeks of the semester without contacting me, you will be administratively withdrawn from this section. If you miss more than four classes in the first four weeks, you may be withdrawn. Administrative withdrawal may have academic, financial, and financial aid implications. Administrative withdrawal will take place after the full refund period, and if you are administratively withdrawn from the course you will not be eligible for a tuition refund. If you have questions about the administrative withdrawal policy at any point during the semester, please contact me.

Photograph of a display of survival supplies for the well-stocked fallout shelter, ca.1961.

Grade Scale
A 92-100 (95)
A- 89-91 (90)
B+ 86-88 (87)
B 82-85 (84)
B- 79-81 (80)
C+ 76-78 (77)
C 70-75 (73)
D 60-69 (65)
F 0-60

An artist's rendition of a temporary basement fallout shelter, ca.1957

 

Reading banner

Readings

There are three assigned texts. We will discuss readings in class, and exam material will be drawn from them, so you should purchase them, check them out of the library, or find someone willing to share. If you click directly on the books' titles below you will be taken to a link for a web site that will indicate online sellers carrying these titles, in many cases significantly cheaper than local bookstores.

Preucel, Robert W. and Stephen A. Mrozowski (editors)
2010 Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: The New Pragmatism.  Second Edition.  Wiley Blackwell. List price $54.95 Please do NOT buy the first edition

Shanks, Michael and Christopher Tilley
1992 Re-Constructing Archaeology: Theory and Practice. Second edition.  Routledge. List price $44.95

Castaneda, Quetzil E. and Christopher N. Matthews (editors)
2008 Ethnographic Archaeologies.  Altamira Press.  List $32.95

Course Schedule

Readings will be discussed on the weeks indicated on the syllabus.  Readings in the Preucel and Mrozowski volume appear in the syllabus as CAT; readings from Reconstructing Archaeology appear as RA; and readings from Ethnographic Archaeologies appear as EA.  Remaining readings are available electronically on Oncourse in the Resources tab or as a direct link from this syllabus.  Linked readings require that you log into the IUPUI University Library page with an IUPUI Network ID (i.e., a username and password) when accessing University Library's electronic resources from off-campus.  Try the E-Resource Troubleshooting page if you're having problems gaining access to any readings.

Mayan TV

Jan. 9

Course Introduction

NO CLASS Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Day

Jan. 23

What is Archaeology? 

SELF-REFLECTION PAPER DUE JANUARY 30

Jan. 30

"Politics" and Archaeological Research

Feb. 6

It's All on Ebay:  Archaeology and Ethics

EBAY ANALYSIS PAPER DUE FEBRUARY 13

Feb. 13

The Dilemmas of Objectivity and Hyper-Relativism

COLLECTION PROJECT PROPOSAL DUE FEB 20

Feb. 20

Political Economy

Feb. 27

Bridging Between Identity and Things

JOURNAL REVIEW DUE MARCH 5

March 5

Deconstructions

NO CLASS MARCH 12 SPRING BREAK

March 19

Domination and Archaeologies of Resistance

March 26

Marginalized Voices

April 2

Public Interpretation: Archaeological Audiences and Constituencies

April 9

Archaeological Institutionalization: CRM, academia, and the Labor of Archaeology

COLLECTION PROJECT DUE APRIL 16

April 16

Archaeology and Public Policy

April 23

Modern Material Culture: Digging Ourselves 

April 30

Take-home Final Exam due to me electronically

Last updated April 2, 2012