17th of February 2017 – Communities of Practice

17th of February 2017
Communities of Practice, Communities of Style: Towards Praxis.

1-2 ECTS

Archaeological discourse has moved forward the traditional goal of identifying ancient cultures through their material remains and spatial choices. The intricate networks that connect and connected people and things, the ways in which people in the past situated themselves within those networks, as well as the context in which material practices took place, the communities, are now a focus in many archaeological projects. These ideas have deeply challenged our ways to see, interpret, and think about materials and materiality. For example, it could be argued that material culture continuity and variability is a complex underdetermined relationship between modes of co-participation and content or tradition. Therefore, “(…) historical continuity in material form may mask significant social change, and, conversely, social stability may transcend marked changes in material form.” (SASSAMAN & RUDOLPHI 2001:408) Consequently, similarity or difference in material expression are not directly determined nor necessarily linked to social Transformations or continuity.

In short, this conference is concerned with archaeological approaches to (and understandings of) the concept of ‘community’ and its underlying social and cultural modes of construction. It must be noted that this also includes critical stances towards the concept of ‘community’, in which more attention is paid to the individual’s agency as opposed to passive community members that are constricted by their communal association (AMIT & RAPPORT 2002:111).
The Graduate School of Archaeology at Leiden University aims to hold a one-day event focused on the discussion of ideas related to communities, communities of practice, communities of style, constellations of practices, networks of practices; all these ideas, specifically about bringing together theory and practice in research projects embedded in the communities of practice perspective. The main goal of the meeting will be gathering specialists from different parts of the country to share views, experiences, and to offer a context for collaborative discussions, and why not, social learning within a scholarly community of practice. The event will be held the the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, on the 17th of February, 2017 (Van Steenis Building, Room F1.02). The meeting will feature eight concise presentations (10-12 minutes) followed by a general discussion led by Dr. Miguel John Versluys, Dr. Alex Geurds and Dr. Rosemary Joyce. The event will be closed by a lecture by Dr. Rosemary Joyce, organized by the Material Agency Forum.

The local organizing and scientific committee is comprised of a combination of Leiden staff members (Dr. Miguel John Versluys, Dr. Alex Geurds), PhD (Natalia Donner, Lennart Kruijer), RMA students (Fenno Noij, Valerio Gentile), MA (Simone Casale), and BA (Fiep Korstanje). PhD students and staff from University of Groningen will also take part in the organization of the event.