". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Spell of Fireflies & the Anasazi -- Science and History

It's very, very easy to speak firefly, so says Dr. Sara Lewis, who is fluent in Firefly, and thus ought to know.

[ " . . . this meadow is the stage for an invertebrate melodrama, full of passion and yearning, of courtship duets and competitions for affection, of cruel deception and gruesome death." ]

Also, "Steve Lekson’s new book offers a kind of unified theory of the Native American population movements that have puzzled Southwest archaeologists for many years." Not everyone agrees with his theories, however (back again, to an entry a few days back that dealt to a degree with, Febvere, father of the Annales school of history, and his decree that one MUST begin with a theory), and an interesting perspective on this concept of theory and history the piece does provide.

[ " .... With all the ambiguities involved in interpreting patterns of dirt and rock — the Anasazi left no written history — archaeologists have been more comfortable focusing on a particular culture or a particular ruin. Dr. Lekson is constantly reaching — some say overreaching — to make connections between isolated islands of thought. Scheduled for publication this summer, his new book, “A History of the Ancient Southwest,” will go even further, offering a kind of unified theory of the Native American population movements that have puzzled Southwest archaeologists for many years.

“Steve has definitely been the one who has dragged us kicking and screaming into ‘big picture’ archaeology,” said William D. Lipe, emeritus professor of archaeology at Washington State University. “In many ways, Steve’s ideas and publications have driven much of the intellectual agenda for Southwestern archaeology over the last 20 or more years.” That does not mean, Dr. Lipe added, that he buys the idea of the Chaco meridian." ]

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