Affective Politics and the Qualities of Things: Materials and Metonymy in the Archaeology of Highland Madagascar

Zoƫ Crossland
Mon May 20th 2024, 3:30 - 5:00pm
Department of Anthropology
Building 50, Room 51A


How might we access the affective work of politics through the fragments of material culture that we recover as archaeologists? In this paper I consider how political identities may be formed and shaped affectively through engagement with the qualities of material things and the connected worlds of experience that they index. I suggest that close attention to object qualities and their metonymic and experiential articulations with other domains offers a pathway for those who aim to access a politics of feeling in the past. Specifically, I consider how elements of craft materials have traveled from one craft domain to another in the history of pottery making and use in the highlands of Madagascar, asking what gets bundled together with the decorative work of craft as it travels? What kind of affective associations are summoned and extended, and what kinds of claims are expressed and founded upon the sticky feelings that get caught in things?


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