How can we do an ethnography of objects, taking seriously the relationships that embed them in specific places and territories? In most studies on heritage, as well as in the recent turn towards material culture in anthropology, objects are considered as bounded and defined entities that can, by definition, be moved, taken, exchanged, kept or returned to people and communities. By focusing on forms of presence and absence of material remains from the Prehispanic past and how they are activated in San Miguel Coatlinchan—a town on the outskirts of Mexico City—known nationally for the state enforced removal of one of Mexico´s most emblematic heritage objects, I propose an ecological approach for thinking about objects that underscores the attachments and interactions that bind humans and non humans. By analyzing objects as isolated things one loses sight of how they are part of the forces and substances that work together, like rain water and healing plants, to guarantee life itself.
Sandra Rozental (Mexico City, 1979) has worked as a researcher, curator in museums of anthropology and popular culture, cultural journalist, film production assistant, and art critic. She received her doctorate in anthropology from New York University in 2012, and has published in journals and volumes on archaeological patrimony. This is her first film, and is based on nearly a decade of her ethnographic and archival research.
In preparation for the workshop, please contact Laura Chen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Dr. Rozental’s recent article in Anthropological Quarterly, "In the Wake of Mexican Patrimonio: Material Ecologies in San Miguel Coatlinchan."
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.
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