Universiteit Leiden

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Entangled in stories. Humans, things and practices

  • Kerstin Hofmann (Römisch-Germanische Kommission, Frankfurt aM)
Friday 6 October 2017
Material Agency Forum
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden

Humans, things and practices are entangled in a variety of different stories. Today, storytelling is no longer seen as only imparting but as also generating knowledge. This paper will deal with two main questions: firstly, whether the metaphor of object biography is a good metaphor (i.e., a metaphor we live by) or a bad one (i.e., a metaphor we die by), and secondly, whether or not there should be a development from history to itstories. Going beyond common object biographies and it-narratives, the paper shows the possibilities of plural narration, and for this purpose briefly presents Wilhelm Schapp's philosophy of histories. As Tim Ingold currently insists, even for Schapp the properties of things were not to be regarded as attributes, but as stories. According to Schapp, everything has several stories at the same time, simply on the grounds of every thing’s production and relational determinations; for example, its age, material that it is made of, and size. Brief examples will be presented to illuminate the consequences of narratological perspectives for the archaeological exploration of the entanglement of humans, things and practices.

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