Community-Based and Participatory Praxis as Decolonizing Archaeological Methods and the Betrayal of New Research

  • Uzma Z. RizviEmail author


This chapter is about everyday encounters while conducting research in India. It interrogates those moments of feeling like I belonged, like I had a stake, and how that might change through time. It is about intimacy, it is about friendships, and it is about betrayal. Ultimately, it is also about how we do archaeology. There was an everydayness to interactions with my colleagues, research partners, staff members, and people who became friends; this chapter reflects upon how that quotidian interaction became an integral part of the project. It was also that everyday intimacy that allowed for a certain trust to develop that was not one hinged on labor but on living together. In some sense, our social and emotional relationships were constitutive of the community-based and participatory archaeological practice we were engaged within: we were the project and the project was us. Thus, once the project ended, so did our made pathways of relational intimacy. The traces of the project, however, were heavy and long-standing, emerging and revealing feelings of betrayal that now, with over two decades of experiencing such work, I can see as the emotional labor of archaeology.


Betrayal Intimacy Everyday interactions Friendships Emotional labor Archaeology 



I want to thank the Heart Collective (Sonya Atalay, Jane Baxter, Natasha Lyons, and Kisha Supernant), for the invitation to be a part of this important conversation and turn toward a more emotionally intelligent archaeological praxis. I would also like to thank “Shanta Bai” for all the care and many hours of company, laughter, and cups of tea. Many thanks to the community-based programs and workshops in Neem ka Thana and Kot Putli, as well as the Panchayat in districts Alwar, Tonk, Sikar, and Jaipur. I would also like to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of my colleagues at the Rajasthan State Department of Archaeology and Museums and the Archaeological Survey of India offices (Jaipur and Delhi).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Science and Cultural StudiesPratt InstituteNew YorkUSA

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