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Guido Pezzarossi

Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 14, 2013. 05:15 PM - 06:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Archaeology Center, Building 500, 488 Escondido Mall
Meeting Description: 

Tribute, Consumption, and Antimarkets: An Archaeology of Capitalism in Colonial Guatemala

This talk presents an approach to the archaeology of capitalism within Spanish colonial contexts in Guatemala through the archaeology of a multicomponent Pacific piedmont Kaqchikel Maya community occupied from at least 900-1800 AD, San Pedro Aguacatepeque. I draw on both postcolonial and materialist theory to draft an archaeology of colonial capitalism that challenges classical trait-based definitions of capitalism which have proven insufficient in studying the Guatemalan colonial context. I compare and contrast Braudel and DeLanda’s concept of capitalism as a system of “antimarkets” -- defined as power-manipulated markets -- with the “free” markets iconic of modern capitalism as an experiment in moving beyond the baggage-laden concept of capitalism and reorienting analyses on the unequal power dynamics of colonial entanglement that structured changes in daily practice at the local level in colonial Guatemala and in turn precipitated the emergence of global capitalism.

In this talk, I trace out the effects of antimarkets through the diachronic analysis of production and consumption practices at Aguacatepeque, with an eye to identifying the social and material catalysts that changed the broader market and exchange based relations in which the community was engaged. Ceramic and lithic macroanalysis, elemental characterization and provenance analysis, documentary research and palynological analysis provide the bulk of data used to track changes in production and consumption practices at Aguacatepeque, two practices that signal shifts in market engagement and the intrusion or intensification of latent antimarkets and their effects in colonial Guatemala. From this data, I draw out the specific genealogy of the development and reconfiguration of these practices, the antimarkets that afforded and sustained them, and their subsequent effects on Aguacatepeque.

 

Bio:

Guido Pezzarossi is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Stanford University. His research on colonialism and capitalism has spanned English and Spanish colonial contexts in New England and Guatemala, with a specific focus on the emergence of colonial material and economic processes and their effects on the experience and practice of colonized populations.

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