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Archaeologies of Colonialism

Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France

Michael Dietler

Publication Year: 2010

This book presents a theoretically informed, up-to-date study of interactions between indigenous peoples of Mediterranean France and Etruscan, Greek, and Roman colonists during the first millennium BC. Analyzing archaeological data and ancient texts, Michael Dietler explores these colonial encounters over six centuries, focusing on material culture, urban landscapes, economic practices, and forms of violence. He shows how selective consumption linked native societies and colonists and created transformative relationships for each. Archaeologies of Colonialism also examines the role these ancient encounters played in the formation of modern European identity, colonial ideology, and practices, enumerating the problems for archaeologists attempting to re-examine these past societies.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Having conducted research in France for nearly thirty years, I find it fitting that the final touches to this book should be made in Lutetia, capitol of the Parisii, as I return to France for a sojourn as director of the University of Chicago Center in Paris. Over all those years, I have accumulated many debts of gratitude to people and institutions. ...

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1. The Cup of Gyptis: Introduction to a Colonial Encounter

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pp. 1-26

This statement summarizing the colonial encounter that constitutes the central focus of this book was written during the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor, although it purports to describe a process that began about six centuries earlier. It was written by a historian named Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, ...

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2. Archaeologies of Colonialism

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pp. 27-54

Perhaps the most intriguing and consequential case of “invented traditions” in European history involved a sweeping “colonization” of modern consciousness by the ancient Greco-Roman world. This process was launched several centuries ago, and its evolving manifestations have been a pervasive feature of European cultures ever since. ...

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3. Consumption, Entanglement, and Colonialism

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pp. 55-74

Developing the theoretical tools to accomplish the goals outlined in the previous chapters, and to enable a productive archaeological contribution to the comparative understanding of colonialism, requires coming to grips with the issue of agency in both indigenous and colonial societies and abandoning the kinds of teleological assumptions of inevitability ...

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4. Social, Cultural, and Political Landscapes

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pp. 75-130

When traders peddling Etruscan goods first anchored their small ships along the shores of southern France in the late seventh century BCE, they encountered a diverse and dynamic indigenous world composed of exotic peoples whose languages and customs they did not understand. ...

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5. Trade and Traders

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pp. 131-156

As should be clear from the previous chapter, throughout most of the period covered in this book, trade, interspersed with episodes of violence, was the principal form of interaction between indigenous peoples of the region and Etruscans and Greeks. But even after the Roman military intrusion into the region in the late second century BCE, ...

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6. A History of Violence

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pp. 157-182

Violence is a crucial subject of analysis in any colonial encounter. That is not to say that it is an inevitable feature of colonialism or even necessarily the most important. But colonial situations do frequently involve aggressive action (or at least the threat of such action), and they often provoke or alter various forms of collective homicidal conflict. ...

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7. Culinary Encounters

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pp. 183-256

Food is a domain of social life that presents what should be an obvious target for investigation in seeking to understand the operation of colonialism. After all, contemporary foodways around the world are in large measure the product of a long history of colonial encounters. ...

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8. Constructed Spaces: Landscapes of Everyday Life and Ritual

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pp. 257-332

The colonial encounter unfolded within an evolving set of interrelated material and conceptual spaces that both organized the flow of interactions and were reconfigured by the colonial experience. This chapter examines two dimensions of that set of spaces— landscapes of everyday life and ritual— ...

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9. Conclusion and Imperial Epilogue

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pp. 333-346

This book began with a passage by the Gallo-Roman historian Pompeius Trogus extolling the radiant civilizing influence of Massalia and claiming that the progress of the surrounding barbarians was so brilliant that it seemed as though Gaul had essentially been transformed into Greece (fig. 9.1). ...


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pp. 347-390


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pp. 391-452


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pp. 453-464

E-ISBN-13: 9780520947948
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520265516

Page Count: 480
Publication Year: 2010