An introductory Q&A with the Multidimensional Dialogues: Entangling the Americas’ Pasts, Presents and Futures network.
Q: What do we aim to promote?
We aim to promote critical thinking about four dimensions of Americas research: the Past, Present and Future, with the fourth framing dimension being ‘Action’ to open up the discourse into the realm of advocacy and impact–our group will encourage an engagement with descendant communities, Heritage research, and public education. In doing so, we expect to provide spaces for the sharing and discussion of insights and ideas pertaining to legacies and lessons from the Americas’ pre-colonial, early-modern pasts and up to the present day, as well as environmental and cultural legacies across times and geographies. The intent is to open wider conversations through this framework, helping to also keep our eyes looking towards the future with any urgent cultural and environmental concerns, to re-write narratives and rethink the roots of imperialism and slavery, as well as of economic inequalities on a global scale.
Q: What do we aim to bring?
We aim to contribute to the global discourse about this core research area and rigorous dialogues about its past, present and future. A core impetus of our research interests connect around Cambridge Archaeology and the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, but our specific interests are more wide-ranging. Our distinct interdisciplinary approach will foster original thinking about North and South America, two macro-geographic and conceptual places that are too often divided or distanced from one another. Coastal and island peoples of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, too, fall under the purview of the series. In addition to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration amongst researchers based at the University, we hope to excite interest amongst the Cambridge public, especially educators teaching about Americas’ archaeology and anthropology, but also its rich heritage, art, science, and vitality. Ultimately, the network will contribute to the global discourse about this core research area and rigorous dialogues about its past, present and future.
Q: Why CRASSH?
There exists no better interdisciplinary sounding board for innovative humanities, social sciences, and art in Cambridge than CRASSH. Its offer to support a designated website and sponsoring MultiDimensional Dialogues’ activities through social media will be extremely helpful to our mission. This added sponsorship and institutional support can lead to wider-ranging interest, and the Americas Archaeology Group co-convenors are primed to work closely with CRASSH facilitation specialists to make the coming year an exciting series of talks and events. All co-convenors have experience crafting digital posters and publicity materials, website design, social media announcements, and conference organising. The opportunity to have world-class assistance in all these aspects, especially for our group of mostly PhD students, will be demonstrably valuable.
Q: Why the Americas?
The history of European colonialism and neo-colonialisms of the last five centuries throughout the Americas makes our geographic focus distinct. This research network launches at an unparalleled time in the study of the Americas around the globe, with calls for more accurate and more responsive analysis of non-European epistemologies coming from the descendants of Indigenous and mixed-heritage communities, leading academics and museum professionals to disrupt colonial and neo-colonial legacies that linger in the present. Increased interest in dialoguing with the entangled history requires a platform for knowledge sharing to make a concerted impact on the living. The MultiDimensional Dialogues group consists of Cambridge-based researchers with invested interests in all geographic reaches of the Americas. And our many temporal foci encourage research across space-time. We hope to open dialogues in Cambridge that stimulate innovation in the Archaeology, History, Heritage, and Art History of the region that can help to decenter, diversify and decolonise the accepted paradigms that keep the Americas segmented and silenced. The MDD project builds upon the current Interdisciplinary “turn” in intellectual study by building connections across the Americas, highlighting distinct experiences but also seeking comparative discourse and dynamic approaches to the fields we intend to serve.
Q: How can people learn more about your network?
- Written by Camila Alday, Oliver Antczak, Joshua Fitzgerald, Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas, Jasmine Vieri