By Michæl Dietler
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Additional info for Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France
The lingering aura of prestige that Latin acquired during this time is reflected in the fact that most universities in the United States, thousands of years and miles away from any connection to ancient Rome, have Latin mottoes on their crests. A widespread fascination with the ancient Greeks did not develop until several centuries after the debut of the Renaissance. 6 This romantic aesthetic fixation on the Greeks originated partly as a reaction against the rationalist Enlightenment tradition of “Augustan” neoclassicism that had become particularly associated with France.
Hence, it follows a strategy with three primary dictates: (1) a commitment to multiscalar analysis firmly grounded in a particular region, (2) the targeted examination of long-term historical transformations within selected domains of social life, and (3) a simultaneous symmetrical analysis of transformations in indigenous and colonial societies, with both viewed as dynamic agents and products of the encounter. All of this, of course, depends first on a critical sociohistorical contextualization of both the object of analysis and the analytical project, and this endeavor is tackled in the next chapter.
The voice of “the subaltern” may indeed be epistemologically very difficult to hear,50 especially when analysis is focused in the domain of texts; but the subaltern does live in and act on the material world. Hence, recovering the material record of the lives of those whose voices have not been recorded, imperfect as it may be, does offer at least a potential challenge to the colonizer’s view of the world and the silences it imposes. But more than simply providing an alternative kind of evidence, the archaeological focus on the material dimension of colonialism is crucial for another reason.