2016: The year past and plans in the one to come

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2015 has been a quieter year on the blog, but a busier one in ‘real life’ academia. The most read post (and the one most important for me): How do you talk about the human body after you’ve seen a tragedy? Emotion and funerary archaeologists. The blog moved on twitter too, now getting around 387 followers.

Looking back at 2015, it was a year for history and philosophy of early 20th century anthropology, and one in which I continued pursuing my interests in the ethics of human remains research in archaeology. I am happy with a published co-edited volume (OA)- Bodies/Matter: narratives of corporeality which gathers 17 articles, field notes, exhibition and book reviews concerning the body in scientific, political or religious contexts- and a book review in the freshly released AP Online Journal in Public Archaeology volume 5, Archaeology, Heritage, and Civic Engagement. Working toward the Public Good (Little and Shackel 2014):

“Archaeology can de-silence people, places, and stories that have been made to disappear through willful destruction or neglect” (Little and Shackel 2014, 136).

I’ve also contributed to a first draft (proposal) of a code of ethics on the excavation, study and display of human remains in Romanian archaeology, so we’ll have to see how much luck we have with it.

There were many interesting things to read in 2015, but a couple of books stand out as useful materials for finding new ways of looking at human remains/science and scientists:

  1. The World in a Box The Story of an Eighteenth-Century Picture Encyclopedia, by Anke te Heesen ( The University of Chicago Press Books 2002): “This is a book about a box that contained the world. The box was the Picture Academy for the Young, a popular encyclopedia in pictures invented by preacher-turned-publisher Johann Siegmund Stoy in eighteenth-century Germany.”
  2. Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future, edited by Samuel JMM Alberti and Elizabeth Hallam (London, Royal College of Surgeons of England, 2013): a great combination of visual and textual interpretations of anatomical and anthropological museum collections
  3. Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts, ed. by Elizabeth Hallam and Tim Ingold (Farnham, Ashgate, 2014): ” fields of anthropology and material culture studies to explore the differences – and the relation – between making things and growing things”
  4. Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany, by Andrew Zimmerman (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2001)
  5. Volksgeist as Method and Ethic: Essays on Boasian Ethnography and the German Anthropological tradition, edited by George W. Stocking (Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1996).

The plan for 2016, though still in progress, is to:

  • review: Elegant Anatomy The Eighteenth-Century Leiden Anatomical Collections by Marieke M. A. Hendriksen and Disturbing Bodies: Perspectives on Forensic Anthropology edited by Zoë Crossland and Rosemary A. Joyce.

'Agreed. We fund only those proposals we can understand.'

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