Archaeology has experienced in recent decades some significant challenges regarding its inherent colonialist legacies in theory and method. Approaches to global human evolution and the Palaeolithic have so far not received similar critical attention. This is an interesting phenomenon that most likely is related to the presentation of human evolution as a natural process that can be described and explained in biological, ‘scientific’ and objective terms. However, against this assessment stands some significant research that demonstrates the social and cultural construction of 'biological’ or ‘genetic’ facts. The same applies to the narratives that are constructed to explain the course of deep human evolution and the causalities that were involved. These critical approaches suggest that biological and cognitive human evolution is largely constructed within a Western framework, which rests on an essentialist view of human characteristics, ‘human nature’ or ‘cognitive capacities’. These ideas have highly problematic links to colonialist concepts of innate human abilities, which underwrote racist ideas in the 19th century. As a result, this orientation also silences Indigenous perspectives and voices in the discourse about so-called modern human origins and the deep past of humanity. This session is aimed at critically analysing current approaches to human evolution and human origins and search for new approaches that enable a renegotiation of what it means to be and become human.
Call for Papers
We anticipate this being a half day session with eight to nine 20 minute papers and a 30 minute coffee break, leaving ample time for discussion. We have several speakers already confirmed but have plenty of space left!
Paper proposals should be sent to the session organisers by no later than 13 October 2014. For such a proposals we need to know:
- your basic information (name/affiliation);
- your proposed paper title;
- an outline of your paper or abstract; and,
- whether you have any special requests such as needing the session to be on certain day or wanting to present remotely (we have experience running sessions via Google Hangouts if you're unable to attend in person).
This is so we can confirm your paper is a good fit for this session and will help us to arrange a speaking order.
**Final paper abstracts need to be sent to the TAG conference organisers by 31 October 2014.**
This session is organised by Associate Professor Martin Porr and Jacqueline Matthews from Archaeology and the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management at the University of Western Australia. Please contact us directly with any paper proposals, questions or suggestions for this session.
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org