Patina: A Profane Archaeology by Shannon Lee DawdyPatina: A Profane Archaeology by Shannon Lee Dawdy

Patina: A Profane Archaeology

byShannon Lee Dawdy

Paperback | May 31, 2016

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When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the world reacted with shock on seeing residents of this distinctive city left abandoned to the floodwaters. After the last rescue was completed, a new worry arose—that New Orleans’s unique historic fabric sat in ruins, and we had lost one of the most charming old cities of the New World.
In Patina, anthropologist Shannon Lee Dawdy examines what was lost and found through the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Tracking the rich history and unique physicality of New Orleans, she explains how it came to adopt the nickname “the antique city.” With innovative applications of thing theory, Patina studies the influence of specific items—such as souvenirs, heirlooms, and Hurricane Katrina ruins—to explore how the city’s residents use material objects to comprehend time, history, and their connection to one another. A leading figure in archaeology of the contemporary, Dawdy draws on material evidence, archival and literary texts, and dozens of post-Katrina interviews to explore how the patina aesthetic informs a trenchant political critique. An intriguing study of the power of everyday objects, Patina demonstrates how sharing in the care of a historic landscape can unite a city’s population—despite extreme divisions of class and race—and inspire civil camaraderie based on a nostalgia that offers not a return to the past but an alternative future.
Shannon Lee Dawdy is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago. She was awarded a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in 2010.
Title:Patina: A Profane ArchaeologyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:May 31, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022635119X

ISBN - 13:9780226351193

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Katrina, Nostalgia, Profanity
2. Ruins and Heterogeneous Time
3. A Haunted House Society
4. “French” Things
5. The Antique Fetish
6. Conclusion: Patina, Chronotopia, Mana


Editorial Reviews

"Absences have often been overlooked by archaeologists in their focus on what has been preserved. But in Patina Dawdy puts due attention on patina (indicating loss and pastness), storytelling (bringing the past to life), fakes and invented traditions (pasts made-up), and even ghosts (haunted sites and buildings)... This past is never really past but very present indeed—so Dawdy discusses in some detail how New Orleans was made old in subsequent presents and how Katrina ruined some of that antiquity... [Patina] challeng[es] us profoundly in how we think about heritage now and point[s] us in new directions for how we should think about managing heritage in the future."