'It was maendeleo that removed them': disturbing burials and reciprocal knowledge production in a context of collaborative archaeology

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Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Author abstract; Report
Length: 325 words

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Byline: Bilinda Straight, Paul J. Lane, Charles E. Hilton, Musa Letua Recent decades have witnessed a growth in approaches to research and writing across anthropology's four fields that emphasize the need to respect alternative narratives and constructions of history, and to engage with anthropology's 'publics'. These developments have generated more ethically responsible research and more inclusive writing practices. Nevertheless, the actual doing of cross-cultural collaboration and knowledge production remains a challenge. In this three-field (cultural, biological, and archaeological anthropology) study, we aim to capture, in writing, a process of collaborative fieldwork with Samburu pastoralists in northern Kenya that experimentally integrated ethnographic self-scrutiny with a bio-archaeological excavation involving human remains. In the process, we highlight the reciprocal knowledge production that this cross-subdisciplinary, transcultural fieldwork produced. Biographical information: Bilinda Straight is Professor of Anthropology at Western Michigan University. She has worked with Samburu pastoralists in northern Kenya since 1992 on a variety of topics unified by the optic of lived experience, including material culture, ethnophilosophy, death, and intercommunity violence. Paul Lane is Professor of Global Archaeology at Uppsala University and an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies, Witwatersrand University. His primary research sites are in Africa, and his interests include the transition to food production, social and symbolic structuring of space and time, and the role of the past in the past. Charles E. Hilton is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, Grinnell College. He has worked among living Venezuelan hunter-gatherers, and has analysed skeletal remains representing Neanderthals, early modern humans, prehistoric foragers of the Lower Pecos and Arctic Alaska, and early agriculturalists of the Prehispanic American Southwest. Musa Letua (deceased) was a Samburu pastoralist who had worked on anthropological, health, and civic projects from 1992 until his untimely death in late 2009. He was an intellectually engaged, active participant of the project upon which this article is based. His ideas enriched this and a parallel paper in review.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A415316432