Skip to Content

4 Field Colloquium Series: "Anarchic pasts: Shifting power structures, purposeful simplicity, and the deep history of resistance in the American Southeast"

Matthew Sanger
Monday, February 6, 2017
3:00-5:00 PM
411 West Hall Map
Our 4 Field Colloquium series presents speakers from the four fields of anthropology on new and topical interests in the field.

After a long history of studying emergent hierarchies, imbalanced power structures, and societal inequity, anthropologists and archaeologists are increasingly focused on how more egalitarian social systems are constructed. Because of this shift, the works of Anarchic philosophers, activists, and writers are becoming important touchstones for understanding how people often strive to achieve self-governance, equality of entitlement, and voluntary power relations marked by reciprocity and unfettered association.

Drawing from Anarchic writers, this paper looks at several pivotal points in the history of the southeast United States: points often thought to be apogees of emergent complexity, yet lacking the hallmarks of imbalanced power relations. Referring to places like Poverty Point – a series of earthen mounds, embankments, and plazas built more than three millennia ago – and Archaic shell rings – circular deposits of mollusks found along the coastline – this paper suggests that Native Americans living in the southeast United States engaged in remarkably “complex” practices, including monument building and long-distance exchange, yet preserved an otherwise “simple” lifestyle.
Building: West Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: AEM Featured, Anthropology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Anthropology