Whether or not we choose to acknowledge and manipulate it explicitly, theory is always present in the way we think and write, as archaeologists. This seminar will explore some of the ways in which different kinds of theory have been used to further the investigative potential of data from all three sub-fields of classical archaeology: Aegean, Greek and Roman. We will take as our starting point the theory reading list for the IPCAA Qualifying Examinations, but we will build on this to include a variety of other readings and approaches. Our aims will be, first, to get a feel for the historical development and present emphasis of each sub-field; second, to look at some of the similarities and differences between them in the theories which have been applied; and third, to explore some of the ways in which new theoretical approaches are informing current work. Within the time available we can only hope to highlight examples of topics and approaches, but there will be an opportunity to plan some of the later sessions around the specific interests of participants. We will also benefit from at least one visiting speaker (Carl Knappett, an Aegean prehistorian from University of Toronto).
Ultimately, by providing a space in which theoretical issues can be discussed, and building a sense of the intellectual context in which individual studies can be placed, I hope to support participants in developing a critical awareness of theoretical issues, both as readers, and as writers, of archaeological studies (for dissertation purposes and beyond). After the end of the course I encourage those who are interested in continuing the conversation about theoretical approaches, to participate in the Theory in Greek Archaeology conference, taking place in Ann Arbor on 4th and 5th May 2012.