CHAT @ TAG: Symmetry and Diversity in Archaeologies of the Recent Past

Archaeologies of the recent and contemporary pasts are messy, complicated affairs - for practitioners of these archaeologies, gone are the days when data and interpretations could be put into neat categories. As historical archaeology and contemporary archaeology increasingly find a place within the academy, the number of researchers practicing such archaeologies, and the diversity of their views, both continue to increase. This healthy, ever increasing multi-vocality, is highlighted yearly by the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory (CHAT) conference series. CHAT has occurred in the British Isles since 2003 (past events were held in Bristol, Leicester, Dublin, Sheffield and London), providing a forum for archaeologists to present new and exciting work unhindered by traditional academic rubrics. It was established “to provide opportunities for dialogue to develop among researchers in the fields of later historical archaeology and the archaeology of the contemporary world”, and aims to be a “dynamic forum for innovative critical discussion that seeks to challenge and push the limits of archaeological thinking.” This session then, offers papers that follow the spirit of the CHAT conferences, that is, papers that push theoretical and methodological boundaries in their focus on the recent and contemporary pasts. The session aims to both showcase the diversities, but also tease out the symmetries, between the wide array of archaeological projects and understandings that fall under the larger, common project, of archaeologists' investigation into the recent and contemporary pasts.

B.R. Fortenberry, Boston University

Adrian T. Myers, Stanford University