Archaeology and Cultural Mixing: Creolization, Hybridity and Mestizaje (Archaeological Review from Cambridge)

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Call for Papers for the Archaeological Review from Cambridge
Archaeology and Cultural Mixing: Creolization, Hybridity, and Mestizaje
Volume 28.1, April 2013
Theme editor: Paul van Pelt (

In the past decade archaeologists have increasingly embraced a number of concepts involving cultural mixture and exchange developed in the humanities and social sciences as a means to describe cultural process in colonial situations and their postcolonial reactions. Closely related to and often following colonial encounters, the concepts of creolization, hybridity, and mestizaje (although originally purely biological or linguistic terms) are used to describe discursive processes in which different social and economic relations are continually negotiated and renegotiated, and through which entirely "new" or "mixed" social and material conditions are developed.

Notwithstanding their current archaeological popularity, discussions of the terms creolization, hybridity and mestizaje have provoked heated debates in corollary fields and highlighted several of the concepts' discontents, their primary conceptual drawback allegedly being that of reifying natural cultures (i.e. cultural essentialism) and denying or overlooking the dynamic role of human actors in cultural encounters. In addition, very few contributions have hitherto explicitly tried to problematize creolization, hybridity and mestizaje theory within archaeology, touching upon such related conceptual issues as typology, mobility, the circulation of material culture, and the relationship between objects and meaning.

Bearing these issues in mind, the Archaeological Review from Cambridge invites contributions to the theme of cultural mixing and exchange in archaeology and the concomitant concepts of creolization, hybridity, and mestizaje. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

- Theoretical and historiographical discussions on creolization, hybridity, and mestizaje theory in archaeology, e.g. how should the terms be defined and are there further subdivisions to be made (e.g. between hybridity and hybridization theory)? What do the socio-political contexts in which these concepts emerged and/or gained archaeological popularity tell us about them? Is it possible to apply creolization, hybridity, and mestizaje theory outside of the colonial and post-colonial contexts in which they were developed? If so, how should they be applied and under what conditions?
- Discussions on whether archaeologists can gain novel insights from creolization, hybridity and mestizaje theory.
- Conversely, discussions on whether archaeology with its unique time-depth can add meaningfully to theories of cultural mixture in the social sciences.
- Discussions on the social processes that bring about "hybrid" objects and actions, such as the exchange of craftsmen and technology, intercultural marriage, and the circulation of material culture.
- Discussions on the relationship between cultural mixtures observed in daily practices, texts, and language and those traceable in the archaeological record.
- Archaeological case-studies that illustrate recombinations of cultural forms, particularly from those areas and periods where the combined artefactual, architectural, textual and representational records provide a contextualized and sophisticated framework for interpretation.

Please send abstracts of not more than 500 words to Paul van Pelt ( by 29th February 2012. The full article should not exceed 4000 words. Deadline for first drafts will be in early June 2012, for publication in April 2013. Style guidelines and notes for contributors can be found at