Bricolage and Performance

I was intrigued by Katy Soar and Paul-François Tremlett’s recent contribution to the World Archaeology issue on counter-archaeologies. They examine the material culture and space of the Occupy Democracy demonstration in London in 2014 and the “Disobedient Objects” exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum during the same year.  For the authors “protest objects” represent both…

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Shipping Containers

If I had all the time in the world, I would write an article on shipping pallets or vernacular architecture in science fiction novels or global adhocism or something. Mostly, I do far more mundane things like tend to databases or find pot sherds in crowded storerooms. On Saturday, I found myself working as an…

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Shipping Containers

As a member of the Kostis Kourelis and Richard Rothaus reading collective, I was told to read Craig Martin’s little book titled Shipping Container in the Ian Bogost’s and Craig Schaberg’s Object Lesson’s series from Bloomsbury Academic. It was really good. The book considered three things in relation to the container – their ubiquity, their…

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An Archaeology of Care in the Bakken Oil Patch

This past week my colleague Richard Rothaus presented a paper for the North Dakota Man Camp project on a session dedicated to “An Archaeology of Care” at the Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting in Ft. Worth, Texas. We’re still working through the idea, but each iteration and conversation gets us closer to distinguishing the…

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More on Abandonment in the Bakken

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been documenting the gradual abandonment of workforce housing across the Bakken oil patch. The reasons for abandonment of workforce housing are complex. Oil prices slipping below $40 triggered a slowdown in drilling in the region and drilling was the most workforce intensive part of the oil extraction. The…

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Failed Conclusions

I’ve been slogging my way through a very short article on the possible role of the North Dakota Man Camp Project in contributing to recent interest the archaeology of forced and undocumented migration. I set up the problem as one of impermanence and abundance. Undocumented and forced migrants often move from one impermanent camp to…

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Duluth, Two Harbors, and Lake Superior

If you read the news lately you might think that Grand Forks is a pretty depressing place. Heck, I’ve even argued that we have the world’s most depressing dog park. Last week, I spent a few days enjoying the spectacular hospitality of the history department at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Duluth is a…

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A Weekend Walking and Talking Man Camps

I had an enormously rewarding and productive weekend walking around temporary workforce housing sites in the Bakken oil patch this weekend and talking to residents of Dunn County in Killdeer in the first our “Man Camp Dialogues”. As readers of the this blog know, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get out to the…

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