The half element comprises ten
seminars in archaeological theory which are taken by students from a
wide range of postgraduate courses and provide a firm methodological
foundation for archaeological interpretation, as well as a global
perspective on the discipline. Set readings and case-studies will be
used to evaluate the analytical processes developed by different schools
of archaeological thought, and the range of approaches currently
available in studying material culture, social complexity and
differentiation, concepts of agency, and long-term cultural change.
Aims of the course
The course provides an intensive graduate-level induction to archaeological theory, research issues and reasoning within a seminar framework based on set readings. It aims to review the recent history of archaeological ideas and to examine key general themes in current archaeology from a theoretical and comparative perspective.
On successful completion of this course a student should:
- Have an understanding of current theoretical debates across a broad range of archaeology.
- Be aware of the reasons for the debates as a basis for forming their own theoretical position.
- Be able to use the knowledge to develop an innovative PhD proposal or carry out soundly based work in their particular field of archaeology.
By the end of the course students should be able to
- Critical analysis of ideas
- Construction of a theory-based argument
- Application of acquired knowledge
- Verbal discussion skills
The course is taught through seminars led by Todd Whitelaw. Seminars have weekly required readings, which students will be expected to have done, to be able to follow and actively contribute to discussion.