NATIONALISM AND ARCHAEOLOGY: On the Constructions of Nations and the Reconstructions of the Remote Past

  • Kohl P
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Nationalism requires the elaboration of a real or invented remote past. This review considers how archaeological data are manipulated for nationalist purposes, and it discusses the development of archaeology during the nine- teenth and early twentieth centuries and the relationship of archaeology to nation-building, particularly in Europe. Contrastive conceptions of national- ity and ethnicity are presented, and it is argued that adoption of modem con- structivist perspectives is incompatible with attempting to identify ethnic/na- tional groups solely on the basis of archaeological evidence. The political uses of archaeology are also reviewed for the construction of national identi- ties in immigrant and postcolonial states. The problematic nature of national- istic interpretations of the archaeological record is discussed, and the essay concludes with a consideration of the professional and ethical responsibili- ties of archaeologists confronted with such interpretations.

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  • Philip L. Kohl

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