Patina: A Profane Archaeology

Paperback | May 31, 2016

byShannon Lee Dawdy

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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.

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From the Publisher

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...

Shannon Lee Dawdy is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago. She was awarded a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in 2010.

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Format: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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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

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

Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Dawdy’s vivid and original book provides new ways of understanding the connections between aesthetics, time, and late modern social worlds. Richly grounded both in both its empirical and philosophical material, Patina can be read simultaneously as a social and political critique of late capitalism and a call for a new kind of archaeology which is attentive not only to deep pasts, but to the ways in which they intervene and surface in the present. Dawdy's powerful vision of a profane archaeological methodology will resonate strongly across the humanities and social sciences.”