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CIAMS Lecture Series: John Creese

Monday, April 16, 2018 at 4:30pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, G22
232 East Ave, Central Campus

Reassembling the Longhouse: The Iroquoian Longhouse as a Sociotechnical System

Given the recent theoretical interest in assemblages, actor networks, and human-thing entanglements, Dr. Creese asks what such ‘new materialist’ frameworks have to offer the social archaeology of domestic life. In this lecture, he explores the implications of reconceptualising the Iroquoian longhouse as a sociotechnical system, sensu Pfaffenberger (1992), and as an assemblage, sensu Bennett (2010). Such vantage points, he argues, allow us to better appreciate the emergent ‘sociogenic’ qualities of even the most prosaic activities of building, maintaining, and living in houses. This is because they draw particular attention to the relational interdependencies that are at stake in such activities, revealing for example how the house can become an arena for competing articulations of personhood, kinship, and power. Using a sample of late pre-contact (ca. 1300-1500 CE) Iroquoian longhouses from southern Ontario, Creese examines how differences in house construction, spatial layout, and ritual practice indicate that the sociotechnical networks associated with particular longhouses were surprisingly variable in scale, organization, and durability. What emerges is the sense that a dynamic driving tension between forces of collectivization and atomization, inclusion and exclusion, lay at the heart of longhouse life.


There will be a reception after the talk in Goldwin Smith B08. This event is free and open to the public.

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Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS)


anthro, aip

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John L. Creese

Speaker Affiliation

North Dakota State University

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free and open to the public

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