HFAK03253U F.ARK Archaeological Topic B - On the Move: Archaeological and historical approaches to mobility and movement (lecture series and MA course)

Volume 2016/2017

Outline and aims

Understanding the nature and impact of the mobility and movability of people, animals and things are crucial I order to comprehend archaeological periods and complexes. Archaeology has long been interested in exploring the circulation and exchange of things, ideas and people, and diffusion, migration, trade, colonization and exile have traditionally played central roles in the explanation of culture change and exchange. This emphasis on mobility has been reinvigorated lately with various scientific modes of inquiry attesting to movements of people, animals, plants, material culture, technology, mentalities and ideas as part of, for instance, the Neolithisation of Scandinavia, the socio-economic integration of the European continent in the Bronze Age or the emergence of Christianity and state societies in the late Iron Age. In addition to the focus on movements at the geographical macro-scale, complementary studies have shed light on the micro-scale of the human body in terms of embodied knowledge, dance and the corporeality of emotions (otherwise known as ‘affect’), often inspired by theorization from other disciplines. 

This course aims to probe into the multifaceted nature of movement and mobility, introducing a number of central concepts, frameworks and approaches for studying mobility and movement, while also exploring the challenges to archaeology in such studies. Regardless of various approaches to movement, archaeology is always confronted with a paradox: how can archaeology study something which has inherently transpired? How can static traces and material remains be said to offer a glimpse of movement? How do nomadism, transhumance, itinerant merchants and craftspeople affect the identity of communities, including the understanding of 'property'? And how is the friction between people and landscapes tied to identities of places and to senses of belonging and attachment – is the notion of being ‘uprooted’ an exclusively Late Modern phenomenon?

Learning Outcome

For students

On completion of the course, students will be skilled in:

- Discussing mobility and movement as humanistic and archaeological concepts

- Identifying theoretical challenges in studies of mobility and movement

- Analysing the relationship between mobility/movement and cultural exchange, cultural change and cultural identity in concrete archaeological cases

- Pursuing methodological perspectives pertaining to mobility/movement

The course is structured around a set of introductory and concluding lectures by the course coordinator, complemented by themed and case based seminars by guest lectures. Each of the guest lectures are followed by a student discussions, paper presentations or group work in preparation of the final exam (1½-2 hours is allocated for the guest lecture, and 1-1½ for course work).
Students are encouraged to follow the course in preparing for ‘Tema 1’ or ‘Tema 2’ essays, as inspiration for ‘Almen Arkæologisk Kundskab’ or for dissertation work. Students from the BA level are very welcome.

Other Participants who are not staff or students at the university are also welcome.

Please do not hesitate to contact Tim Flohr Sørensen for inquiries (klq302@hum.ku.dk)
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  • Class Instruction
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Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment