Why do I always decide to do presentations on things that ultimately depress me?
I haven't in a long time, but I am now.
Here is the abstract: Title: Potsherds and Possibilities : Archaeology and Anarchism
"Possibilities," the title of a recent work by anarchist
anthropologist David Graeber, has become a buzzword within anarchist theory and practice. Many agree that one of anarchism's current challenges is imagining and designing blueprints for a society that would function
within anarchism's ethical and economic beliefs; archaeological insights offer anarchism practical perspectives on how societies with alternative political structures operated in the past. In 1890, Peter Kropotkin used the archaeological insights of his day to inform his theories on the stages of man and their relation to mutual aid. Today, John Zerzan and other
primitivist/anti-civilization thinkers use "facts" stemming from archaeology, biological anthropology and primatology in problematic ways.In light of these facts, I will not only discuss archaeology's historic role in
anarchism, but also hope to encourage radical archaeologists to recognize and challenge irresponsible uses of archaeological "knowledge" within
contemporary anarchist discourse.
I think it sounds really interesting, and really important. Saying what inherently 'is', which I agree is a trap primitivists (and many anarchists in general) often fall into, isn't very constructive, and more of a tool to legitimize one's own beliefs rather than further developing them.
It seems like what you're critical of, if I'm understanding you correctly, is the use of the sciences to create myths that anarchism operates well within, effectively creating legitimizing narratives for the ideology rather than dealing with complex and sometimes contradictory evidence. If that's what you're saying, I think that's an interesting and valid argument (but I have a tendency to project my own thoughts into other peoples arguments, so I could be misunderstanding you)
I want to read it when you're done, if I may.
That is definitely a main thrust of my topic - but due to having a short time span, I will probably end up hyper-focusing on primitivism's misleading 'facts' regarding our past (ie, noble savage, before power, etc); and discuss responsible uses that archaeology potentially brings to anarchist theory.
If I was going to a more general conference, and thought I was up to it, I'd definitely be interested in taking on 'Science and Anarchism' more thoroughly - would have to tackle the subject of classical anarchism views on 'human nature' and so forth - that would be a big project. Maybe in the future we can co-author it, ^_^.