Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics re-examines the relationship between Eurasia’s past and its present by interrogating the social construction of time and the archaeological production of culture. Traditionally, archaeological research in Eurasia has focused on assembling normative descriptions of monolithic cultures that endure for millennia, largely immune to the forces of historical change. The papers in this volume seek to document forces of difference and contestation in the past that were produced in the perceptible engagements of peoples, things, and places. The research gathered here convincingly demonstrates that these forces made social life in ancient Eurasia rather more fitful and its publics considerably more unruly than archaeological research has traditionally allowed.
Contributors are Mikheil Abramishvili, Paula N. Doumani Dupuy, Magnus Fiskesjö, Hilary Gopnik, Emma Hite, Jean-Luc Houle, Erik G. Johannesson, James A. Johnson, Lori Khatchadourian, Ian Lindsay, Maureen E. Marshall, Mitchell S. Rothman, Irina Shingiray, Adam T. Smith, Kathryn O. Weber and Xin Wu.
Kathryn O. Weber (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University) is an archaeological anthropologist studying social inequality in the Bronze Age South Caucasus, through the lens of human-animal relationships and isotope analysis.
Emma Hite (Doctoral candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago) is currently a visiting scholar at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. Her dissertation research examines the human-animal relationships of the Xiongnu Empire and their role in the internal political dynamics of the empire in Central Mongolia.
Lori Khatchadourian (Assistant Professor, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University) is the author of Imperial Matter: Ancient Persia and the Archaeology of Empires (California 2016) and co-director of the Joint Armenian-American Project for the Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies (Project ArAGATS).
Adam T. Smith (Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University) is the author of The Political Machine: Assembling Sovereignty in the Bronze Age Caucasus (Princeton 2015) and The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities (California 2003). He is a co-founder of the joint Armenian-American Project for the Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies (Project ArAGATS).
Readers with an interest in archaeology and particularly those concerned with the prehistory and early history of Eurasia (including Eastern Europe, Mongolia, Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus).