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Building Community Anthropology Across the Jordan Valley

This proposal seeks support for an anthropological and museological research and teaching project centered on the establishment of a community museum in the town of Shuqba, Palestinian Territories. The proposed project brings together the Museum Anthropology and Oral History M.A. programs at Columbia University, to work with Birzeit University, and the Columbia Global Center in Amman, Jordan, with support from Columbia’s Center for Palestine Studies.

The proposed community anthropology project will be developed around the key archaeological site of Shuqba, excavated in 1928 by Dorothy Garrod (the first woman professor at Cambridge University). It is a foundational site for the prehistory of the Levant and the study of the origins of agriculture in the region. The site is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list. Boyd, Salem and Crossland have been working on the archaeology of Shuqba since 2000 and have developed close community relations with the people of the town. In 2013 the town council invited Boyd and Salem to develop a community museum tracing this unique heritage in a building donated by the town.

This proposal seeks to lay the groundwork for this larger research and teaching project, through further consultation with the local and regional community, and with archival research in Paris and London. We plan to constitute an advisory working group of specialist consultants in Jordan and Palestine, and to hold a two-day workshop on museums, heritage and oral history at the Global Center in Amman, and a one-day workshop at the Global Center in Paris. The project will provide opportunities for students from Columbia and Birzeit Universities to participate in teaching and training programs, to carry out research on faculty projects, to create their own research projects, and to establish academic networks and working relationships with scholars from Columbia, the Middle East, the U.S. and Europe.


Associate Professor of Anthropology


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