Social Memory, Identity, and Death: Anthropological Perspectives on Mortuary Rituals

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9781931303026: Social Memory, Identity, and Death: Anthropological Perspectives on Mortuary Rituals
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This current volume is a response to those who envision the four fields of anthropology as mutually exclusive entities, and all the papers demonstrate the efficacy of a cross-field or cross-disciplinary approach to analyzing rituals associated with death. The authors engage both ethnographic and archaeological perspectives on mortuary practices, and to describe the interdependence of crafting social memories and identities in mortuary practices, a subject that has received considerable attention from both archaeologists and ethnographers. The powerful combination of ethnographic and archaeological research into mortuary practices in the same volume highlights the interconnections between the archaeology and ethnography and illustrates an exciting dialogue between archaeologists and ethnographers. This rich collection of archaeological and ethnographic case studies of death, identity, and social memory illustrates how much archaeologists can learn from ethnographers, and ethnographers from archaeologists.

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About the Author:

Meredish Chesson is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. Her area of specialization is anthropological archaeology. My research focuses on the integration of anthropological theory, ethnographic research, and archaeological practice in exploring the process of urbanization (or perhaps more accurately proto-urbanism) in the southern Levant (encompassing modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan) during the Early Bronze Age (c.3,600-2,000 BCE). In order to explore the articulation of social, political and economic structures, and the negotiation and assertion of group and individual social identities in the early walled communities of this region, I have directed excavations at Tell el-Handaquq South, el-Lejjun, and Khirbet el-Minsahlat, all located in Jordan. I am also actively working with R. Thomas Schaub to edit the final publications for excavations at Bab edh-Dhra, Numeira, Feifa, and Khirbet Khanazir conducted by the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain.

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