Archaeology of the Recent Past: rethinking temporalities and the empirical




Archaeology has turned more and more to present times. It is not only because it is a discipline thought in and for the present, but also because its fields of action and direct work have expanded towards 20th and 21st centuries contexts. New dialogues with different disciplines – as Anthropology, Geography, History, Architecture, Desing, among others – have marked a renewal in the studies of material culture. The Symposium´s goal is to gather researchers working with different fields of action and their research problems , either related to recent past or to contemporaneity.

At first we propose a debate around the definition of the so-called Historical Archaeology. Which time boundaries work for a “Historical Archaeology”? Should we define it mainly as an archaeology of the Modern World or an archaeology of capitalism?

A second issue relates to empirical and epistemological matters. Considering the empirical available to researchers focus at recent times or even the contemporary, what can archaeology contribute to when “everything is still there” (the ethnographic present, memory, “things in action”)? What are the possibilities when we analyse long-standing despised materials, like plastic, or when we open up for chronologies that allow for approaching new temporalities? Or even when we accept new information/perception on things-objects-products-artifacts to understand and analyse material culture?

At last, we also aim at this symposium to bring discussions on ethical, social and political issues in relation to public, collaborative and activist practices. Including here humanist thinking on dealing with traumatic past, especially when people impacted by past violence are still there; and also on the role of archaeology as a possible mediator of conflicts. We aim here to stress how our scientific practices act and impact on the present.


key words:

Recent Past; Interdisciplinarity; Temporalities; The Empirical; Public Practices.




Camilla Agostini, Professora Adjunto – Departamento de Arqueologia, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro / UERJ

Mariana Petry Cabral, Professora Adjunto – Departamento de Antropologia e Arqueologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais


symposium commentator.


Márcia Bezerra, Professora Associada – Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia, Universidade Federal do Pará