Martin Hall PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 June 2008 11:54
Martin Hall 

Martin Hall 1999 - 2003

Martin Hall has been involved in WAC since the conference in Southampton in 1986 that led directly to the formation of the World Archaeological Congress.  

At the time Martin was writing about the relationship between politics and archaeology, with particular reference to the way in which a racially biased history and archaeology was being used to justify white dominance in apartheid South Africa (for example, see Martin Hall, "The burden of tribalism: the social context of southern African Iron Age Studies", American Antiquity 49(3):455-467, 1984). As a South African Martin was affected by academic boycott movement and like 25 other archaeologists in that country, he was not permitted to attend the Southampton conference.

The formation of WAC had a significant effect on raising awareness of the politics of archaeology within South Africa, and encouraged a small group of "intellectual activists" within the country. When Mandela was released in early 1990, South African archaeologists were able to participate in WAC meetings as observers, and when the first democratic elections were held in 1994, the ban on South African participation was formally rescinded. This - fortuitously - coincided with the third WAC Congress in New Delhi, and so it was natural that Bassey Andah led the proposal that the fourth WAC Congress should be held in South Africa. Martin was appointed Academic Secretary and, at the 1999 Cape Town Congress, was made President. In the role of President, Martin's focus was to try and align WAC with a rather different world from the one in which it was born.

At the Fifth Congress in Washington in mid-2003, participants from many parts of the world came together to express concern about the new ligaments of power, dominance and cultural imperialism. Their contribution demonstrated that alignments between marginalized and oppositional voices are very powerful in the international forum of practicing archaeologists.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 May 2011 20:56
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