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Archaeology of colonialism and persistence: a comparative approach of native practices between São Paulo (Brazil) and New England (United States)

Grant number: 21/09619-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Historical Archaeology
Principal researcher:Astolfo Gomes de Mello Araujo
Grantee:Marianne Sallum
Supervisor abroad: Stephen Walter Silliman
Home Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:19/17868-0 - Archaeology of colonialism and persistence: a comparative approach of native practices between São Paulo (Brazil) and New England (United States), BP.PD

Abstract

The perspective of the Archeology of Persistence has been a way to find "unbreakable historical trajectories" of indigenous populations, since 2009. Archeology should participate in the ongoing effort to better understand indigenous history in Brazil, as suggested by John Monteiro and Manuela Carneiro da Cunha at the end of the 20th century. Such effort needs to be continually renewed, as shown by the remarkable advances in historiography, but archaeology still has little published production. Archeology of Persistence is the notion that structures this current project, whose objective is to develop a research on indigenous history in southeastern São Paulo, from colonial period to the present. The theoretical anchorage will be similar to that used in New England, since in that area it has been developed in a promising way, as the common thread of persistence shows facets of the articulation of identities, materialities and knowledge, which were not perceived in the approaches derived from the idea of acculturation and cultural mix. Thus, the project seeks a method to overcome the narratives of erasure, promoted through colonial sources and scientific racism since the 19th century, based on the ideas of extinction, whitening and indigenous authenticity, which served to blur identities, disregard women's agency as well as justify land dispossession and social inequality. By contrasting theoretical perspectives and indigenous histories between São Paulo and New England, it will be possible to identify similarities and differences in the processes in which people continuously articulated strategies to deal with colonialism, generally acting with a critical attitude, incorporating and transforming cultural and material practices in order to persist. Two themes to be developed will be central in the comparison between São Paulo and New England: i) to investigate academic notions (e.g. colonialism, persistence and gender) with the current political and theoretical perspectives that thinkers from indigenous peoples have been defending; ii) reflect on contemporary theoretical debate on analytical categories (e.g., miscegenation, hybridity, syncretism) as means to understand their scope and limitations. Considering that the São Paulo stage is concluded, the research based at UMass-Boston will have three objectives: 1) review the archeology bibliography on the processes of colonialism in New England (United States), in order to raise the history of the theoretical debate; 2) analyze cases of historical, cultural and identity trajectories of indigenous communities in New England, using the interaction between people and objects, valuations, uses, reproductions, transformations and persistence as a guideline, aiming to define references for the case of São Paulo; 3) gather information on indigenous collections of museums in the United States, with the aim of understanding the trajectory of objects and how museum narratives reflect the processes of indigenous articulation with the practices and material culture of the "other" (European). It is expected as a result of the research: 1) Contribute to the improvement of the epistemological framework and elaborate results that add new theoretical and methodological perspectives to weave the indigenous history of São Paulo, to reverse the erasure built in academia; 2) Contribute to giving visibility to the traditional communities of São Paulo, especially women ceramists; 3) To strengthen the international exchange and partnership between the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Studies on Evolution, Culture and the Environment (LEVOC) at USP and the Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass-Boston). (AU)

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