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Workshop Series Public Talk: Commemoration as Critique: Exhibiting Campus Archaeology during Stanford 125

Three exhibits currently on view at the Stanford Archaeology Center showcase archaeology on Stanford campus lands to coincide with the university’s 125th anniversary. They are unified by the theme Before Stanford and expand inherited histories of Stanford’s founding. These installations also exemplify a persistent challenge in heritage interpretation: how do we critique dominant exclusionary narratives without alienating some of the constituencies we serve? The Before Stanford exhibit group models a path forward in this crucial disciplinary project. Details of these exhibits reveal how a carefully constructed curatorial process allowed students to put concepts of decolonization, materiality, polysemy, and semiosis into practice to produce a new, critical consideration of their own community’s “founding.” This case study invites further reflection on how even commemorative exhibitions can serve as disruptive heritage practice.



Thursday, October 13, 2016. 05:00 PM


Stanford Archaeology Center, 488 Escondido Mall, Bldg. 500, Stanford, CA 94305


Archaeology Center, Stanford University Archaeology Collections


(650) 723-5731


Free and open to the public