Day 1 for the World Archaeological Congress’ Inter-Congress on Archaeology of Conflict taking place in Vienna went really well. I was able to put a lot of faces to names of my colleagues that I have been communicating with via e-mail and Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=60913977483&ref=ts>. I also got to meet some new people and to see again people I met in WAC’s meeting in Ramallah last summer.
There was one session of talks and an opening reception in the evening. All in all I was able to spend time with about ten students who I knew from the Next Generation Facebook group. Already that I met at the conference so far there were two students from Norway (one is an Iraqi Kurd), Ireland (she is Italian), London (she is Israeli), Austria, Brazil, Germany, USA and more that I have not been able to meet yet. It really is an international group.
We already had the chance to talk about a number of things. We spoke about English being the common language and if that is fair, limited access to resources depending on what you are studying and where, a couple of students were interested in where the Next Generation Project was heading in the future, etc.
It was only half a day at the conference, but I feel like I have already made a number of connections—although there are still plenty of other people that I feel I need to get to know (better).
Also, I learned something totally new today. Did you know that there is a rift in the archaeological community in regards to archaeology and the military? Apparently there are people who believe that archaeologists should work with military infrastructure and some who believe that we should never work with the military. At this conference there are some military persons presenting and so the archaeologists who do not believe in working with the military are not in attendance at the conference. It is too bad because now the conference is missing their voice and their side of the argument. It does not seem to enhance intellectual discourse by boycotting a conference. I feel like this is a similar situation to the Ramallah conference when some Israelis did not attend because it was in Ramallah and it was one-sided towards the Palestinian perspective. I don’t feel like this is logical—the reason it can become one sided is because you did not come and share your perspective! I think this is one way that the Next Generation Project is important—we should be dialoguing with one another before we even learn that there are two camps and that we have to choose one side of a dialogue. Perhaps it is naïve, but at this point it seems like we can sometimes learn more without knowing the history of a debate.
Pictures to come…