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BRITARCH  June 2012

BRITARCH June 2012

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Subject:

Re: Save the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity!

From:

"Lyle E. Browning" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 18:41:29 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (206 lines)

On Jun 19, 2012, at 9:38 AM, Raymond Nilson wrote:

> As someone who is an archaeologist, I would have to agree that science plays a certain role in the discipline.
Splendid thinking! C14 dating. Before that, everything was guesswork, but OK, that's science, so dismiss it. Geophysical survey, so all you non-science types can dig endless holes without digging where you should. Dismiss it, it's science. Provenance studies, figure out trade networks for social contacts, done by chemical fingerprinting. Dismiss it, It's science. The list goes on and if you're going to be effective, I would suggest opening your brain past the semi-Marxist cant and seeing what the positives are along with the negatives. In the real world there are always both and they are always seemingly in dynamic conflict.

> However, when compared with the study and interpretation of social attitudes and structuring cultural principles of people, particularly in the prehistoric past, science takes a diminutive position. The very nature of science today is a modern western construct and one that is bound to the operations of filling government coffers.
That has to be one of the more ludicrous statements on the subject to air in years in a public venue.

> The many species of human beings have existed and thrived over multiple regions of the globe for hundreds and thousands of years, long before the socially iniquitous invention of money. Moreover, decisive computer models and rigorous scientific methodological approaches to the past and its people, advocates for cross-cultural and chronological generalisations of how the world is ontologically understood.
Was there a point in that disjointed sentence?

> As a result, such applications give us a rather limited understanding of life in ancient prehistoric worlds, of which we will never  come close to 'exactly' understanding;
And once past pottery typologies and the usual tools, science has been the go-to means of getting past that opaque veil, or would you dismiss that too?

> worlds where the very concept of money and the disgraceful social inequalities it breeds, was most alien indeed.
News flash, the world was hardly ever utopian and however you want to parse it, exchange systems existed and will exist. Pol Pot tried to take a civilized society back to a bastardized version of an agrarian utopia (except for his upper echelons that shouldn't have existed in theory and didn't for 99.99% of the rest of the folks who had to endure that). That worked well, didn't it?

> The world is a social place first and foremost.
My advice is to learn how to incorporate science into your thinking or you will be finding your job horizons well short of satisfactory in the real world, assuming you get past your current academic blinkers.

Lyle Browning
> 
> 
> 
> Ray.
> 
> ________________________________
> From: British archaeology discussion list [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of burcu urundul [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: 19 June 2012 10:32
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Save the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity!
> 
> Well said Mike. :) Besides, I see archaeology as both science and
> humanities. It is multidisciplinary.
> 
> Not sure how we go about fixing short-sighted governments and university
> bean counters. If they cared they would realise that setting university
> fees to 9000 is a horrible idea. But they only care about elections and
> not much else. Makes the whole voting system pointless in my humble
> opinion.
> 
> Best,
> --
> Burcu Urundul
> 
> The Welwyn Archaeological Society
> http://welwynarchaeologicalsociety.wordpress.com/
> 
> 
> 
> On 19 June 2012 09:37, Mike Weatherley <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> 
>> As someone who leapt to sign the petition for the IAA (and who is a
>> graduate of Chemistry himself) I'd suggest that the
>> proposal, below, is even more shortsighted, as it is the 'exact sciences'
>> which can help our economy grow out of recession,
>> in order to fund everything else, such as the IAA. What is really needed
>> is for someone to hit the glorified accountants/bean-
>> counters in the Government/University over their head with the difference
>> between the more apparent cost of such humanities
>> courses and their less obvious, but more long-term and wide-ranging, value
>> to society. Speaking of which, perhaps it would
>> also help to remind them that society does, actually, exist; despite
>> certain claims made in recent years to the contrary :o)
>> Setting science against humanities in some kind of
>> slanging-match/bidding-war is just the kind of divisive action which would
>> play into the hands of those in power. That's how they operate: by
>> dividing and conquering. Unity it the way to deal with them.
>> 
>> Mike
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 15:16:27 +0000
>>> From: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Save the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity!
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> 
>>> I think it is about time that Universities started cutting some
>> programmes from science and mathematics departments.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> I have signed the petition.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> All the best,
>>> 
>>> Ray.
>>> 
>>> Ray Nilson BA MA
>>> 
>>> Doctoral Research Student
>>> Archaeology, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures,
>>> University of Manchester
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: British archaeology discussion list [[log in to unmask]] on
>> behalf of Sarah Howard [[log in to unmask]]
>>> Sent: 15 June 2012 16:19
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: [BRITARCH] Save the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity!
>>> 
>>> Save the IAA!
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Please sign the Save the IAA campaign:
>>> http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-iaa/
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Following a very rapidly conducted review of the Institute of
>>> Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA), the review group, chaired by Professor
>>> Malcolm Press, recommended that the IAA be closed. This will mean the
>>> redundancy of 19 members of staff and have a large and detrimental
>>> impact on the teaching and research of Archaeology and Antiquity at the
>>> University of Birmingham. It also raises considerable concerns about the
>>> commitment of the University to both the Arts and Humanities, and to
>>> areas that (for whatever reason) are not considered to currently be
>>> fashionable or commercially important.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Existing IAA students have already expressed serious concerns about the
>>> impact this will have on their degrees, and staff and students expect
>>> that the bad publicity generated by this decision risks putting students
>>> off attending the University of Birmingham.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> A campaign website has been created, which will be regularly updated at:
>>> http://saveiaa.wordpress.com/
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> The main proposals of the University are:
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> * Closure of the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
>>> 
>>> * 19 staff to be made redundant - that is over half of the
>>> non-professorial academic staff currently in the IAA
>>> 
>>> * None of the individuals involved in the review are included in
>>> the list of staff at risk of redundancy
>>> 
>>> * All Professorial staff are excluded from the threat of
>>> redundancy, despite the assertion that the IAA has been failing for a
>>> number of years and the questionable leadership of sections of the
>>> Professorial staff in leading to such failure.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> A number of very serious concerns have been raised with the University,
>>> including with Professor Press and Professor David Eastwood (through
>>> BUCU), by the staff of the IAA, regarding the process, timing and
>>> legitimacy of the review. These include, but are not limited to:
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> * The composition of the review panel consisted largely of
>>> senior members of the unit under review.
>>> 
>>> * The review took only one month to complete, with only one
>>> hour allocated for staff to meet with the review panel. This compressed
>>> timetable is unprecedented, and made it extremely difficult to make
>>> coherent and collaborative responses.
>>> 
>>> * Throughout the process, while a substantial amount of
>>> information was provided to the review panel, little documentation was
>>> provided to IAA staff, despite repeated requests for financial figures
>>> and KPTs. The information that was provided appeared to have been
>>> censored, or missing key sections, making it difficult for staff to
>>> contribute anything noteworthy to the review panel
>>> 
>>> * Due to the current lack of financial figures and associated
>>> information, staff lodged a Freedom of Information Act Request over 20
>>> working days ago to obtain all the material provided to the review panel
>>> with the aim of producing an alternative plan that best fit the current
>>> situation. The staff were informed on 8th of June that the University
>>> would need more time to perform a Public Interest test. However, they
>>> failed to specify which exemptions they are applying, and it appears now
>>> that the University are stalling to provide any information that would
>>> enlighten staff
>>> 
>>> * A group grievance was lodged by the Project Group with HR
>>> concerning serious problems with senior IAA management.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Staff within the IAA now find themselves within the 90 day consultation
>>> period with a seemingly cosmetic opportunity to provide an alternative
>>> proposal to the plan currently tabled.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> BUCU will be supporting the campaign to save the IAA, and hopes that
>>> members will provide support in the coming months.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Please sign the Save the IAA campaign:
>>> http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-iaa/
>> 

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