Origin Stories: Narratives of North American Diversity, 1400-1700
Sponsored by Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University
Friday, April 22, 2011 - 8:00am to Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 5:00pm

Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901
United States

CFP Deadline: 
Monday, December 20, 2010


  The dynamic nature of Native American, European, European American, and African American identities and interactions in North America between 1400 and 1700 is often acknowledged, but rarely elaborated. Past descriptions, as well as many current accounts, focus on a combination of “guns, germs, and steel,” as though history was a wave from Europe that swept across America bringing modernity, capitalism, and democracy. Archaeologists have increasingly been able to reveal a much more complex, diverse, and remarkable record of the Early Modern era. Yet these stories still only reach a limited audience. They rarely result in a wider public understanding of our shared past and our current, still diverse, cultural identities. Although the terminal narratives of innumerable tribes and a surprising number of early colonies are part of this story, the focus of this conference will be on the material record documenting the active creation and transformation of indigenous, African American, and colonial identities and the new political economies of 1400 to 1700.

     Potential themes for papers include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Indigenous migrations and transformations that are independent of European encounters
  • Captives and slaves as agents of cultural production and change
  • The archaeology of religious/indigenous revival movements, resistance, and revolts
  • The role of political economies in maintaining or overturning social order
  • Changes in the material lives and practices of both colonizers and colonized

Submissions:Please submit a 250-300 word abstract plus title to Richard Wilshusen (contact details below). PDF documents are preferred. Deadline for submission of abstracts: December 20, 2010. The CAI selection committee will review the abstracts, and authors will be notified of the decision in mid-January. Presenters will be asked to submit draft papers two weeks before the April conference so that presentations can be kept relatively brief (15 minutes) and sufficient time reserved for discussion. A key purpose of the conference is to learn from one another and discern patterns in the many narratives and changes of this period. Papers are eligible for inclusion in a peer-reviewed volume published in the Occasional Papers series of the Center for Archaeological Investigations. 

Conference attendance is open to all. Registration details and a conference schedule will be announced in late January 2011 at http://www.cai.siuc.edu/vsprogram.html.

For further information, and abstract submissions please contact: Richard Wilshusen, the 2011 CAI Visiting Scholar, at rhw1873@indra.com. E-mail a contact number if you would prefer to be contacted by telephone.

Contact Information
Richard Wilshusen


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