to the website “Constructions of American Antiquities”!
This website seeks to provide initial information about the ‘invention’ and continuing construction of American ‘prehistory’ for readers interested in both the scientific and the entertaining aspects of how people inside and outside the academic system imagine the American distant past under the conditions of colonial and neocolonial knowledge production. Our aim is to contribute to discussions about the coloniality of scientific knowledge that exists about America’s distant past, the agents of the production of that knowledge, and, perhaps most importantly, the significance of this knowledge in contemporary ideological and legal battles between colonial nations and indigenous inhabitants over the control of territories in the United States and Canada.
Our research project is inspired by at least three tendencies we observe:
1. The recent entry of indigenous scholars into the academic debate about the production of knowledge: This development forces scholarship and society at large to rethink the entanglements between knowledge production and colonialism.
2. The growing significance of knowledge about the pre-Columbian and distant past for legal decisions about the protection and stewardship of land, especially in the view of an increasing colonial desire for exploiting the last natural resources of the globe.
3. A general interest in ‘prehistorical’ events and the antiquity of human culture, both in the Americas and globally. This is due to new technologies for digging and dating but perhaps also triggered by discussions about the Anthropocene and the human impact on dramatic climate changes in the near future. The fascination with antiquity of mankind grows with the expectation of its impending demise.