"La Jalousie" and Archaeology: A Plea for Subjectless Storytelling

Published: 2010-03-24 | DOI: 10.54799/GGTQ2659


This paper advocates a new form of historical writing for archaeology, a narrative without subjects. I set the stage by describing the different kinds of discourses that have developed in German archaeology. The strong emphasis on descriptive writing is remarkable, and I criticize this »catalogism« by drawing on post-colonial reflections on the nature of archives. I compare such descriptive narratives with those prevalent in historical disciplines where a certain vitality of narratives is required. I argue that the prevailing stale »fiction of facticity« in archaeology should not be overcome by reverting to literary mechanisms such as the insertion of fictional characters. Rather, we should find narrative forms that correspond to the specificities of the material available to us. The latter is fragmented and is usually devoid of indications of specific individuals, not to speak of their names. However, as archaeologists we have an excellent sensual and conceptual knowledge of materials, whether the qualities be visual, tactile, olfactory or other. This starting point for narratives fits very well the principles of the French nouveau roman of the 1950s as theorized by Alain Robbe-Grillet and others. My plea is therefore to render this narrative form with its post-modern elements useful for archaeological narrations.

How to Cite

Bernbeck, Reinhard. 2010. “‘La Jalousie’ and Archaeology: A Plea for Subjectless Storytelling”. EAZ – Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift 51 (1/2):64-86. https://doi.org/10.54799/GGTQ2659.
EAZ Cover Issue 1/2/2010, 51. Volume
EAZ Cover Issue 1/2/2010, 51. Volume
This website uses cookies.
By Continuing to visit this website
you agree to the use of cookies.