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Presented By: Modern Greek Program

Archaeologies of Contemporary Migration: Border Assemblages, Global Apartheid, and the Decolonial Potential

Professor Yannis Hamilakis - Brown University

Pallas 2020 Pallas 2020
Pallas 2020
18th Annual Dimitris and Irmgard Pallas Modern Greek Lecture

Since 2016, I have been carrying out an archaeological ethnography project on contemporary migration, focusing on the border island of Lesvos. In this talk, I will report on some of the findings of this project, showing how a sustained and detailed attention to the materiality and temporality of the phenomenon, to the sensorial, affective, and temporal properties of things, can offer insights that elude other kinds of research. Objects, spaces, buildings and landscapes are essential components in the formation of border assemblages, together with border crossers, volunteers, as well as border guards and security apparatuses. I will explore how the attention to such assemblages can not only help us understand what some scholars have described as the new Global Apartheid, but more positively, allow us to imagine a decolonial present and future.

Yannis Hamilakis is Joukowsky Family Professor of Archaeology and Professor of Modern Greek Studies at Brown University. He worked previously at the Universities of Wales Lampeter (1996-2000) and the University of Southampton (2000-2016), and he has held research fellowships at Princeton University, Getty Research Institute, Cincinnati University, The Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton, and the Remarque Institute at NYU. His research interests include Aegean prehistory, the socio-politics of the past, the bodily senses, archaeology and photography, contemporary archaeology, and the materiality of contemporary migration. His books include, The Nation and Its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology, and National Imagination in Greece (OUP, 2007, Edmund Keeley Book Prize 2009), and Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect (CUP, 2013). His most recent book is the edited volume, The New Nomadic Age: Archaeologies of Forced and Undocumented Migration. (Equinox, 2018). He co-directs the Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography Project, and in 2020 he will be curating an exhibition at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University, entitled, Transient Matter: Border Assemblages in the Mediterranean.

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