Dr José C. Carvajal López is a lecturer of Historical Archaeology at the University of Leicester (UK) since 2018. He did his undergraduate degree and PhD in the University of Granada (Spain). He then held a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship in the University of Sheffield (UK), and became lecturer of Islamic Archaeology in UCL Qatar. His specialist field as an archaeologist is pottery and material culture in general, primarily in Iberia, but he also has experience in landscape and architectural archaeology. He focuses on the archaeological study of the Islamic culture, mainly in the process of Islamization and in interactions of Islam with other cultures. He searches for approaches that combine anthropological theory on material culture and analyses with scientific techniques.
Presentation Title: Islamic Archaeology and Heritage: One of the Salient Ways of Being Human
This presentation will consider the future of Islamic heritage from the point of view of an archaeologist that focuses on everyday culture. From this perspective it will look at the history of the discipline of Islamic archaeology and its engagement with objects, buildings and places for peoples of all social classes, and will make suggestions about the future of the discipline based on trends developed in the last years. Islamic archaeology is a fascinating field of study where ground-breaking debates are deemed to take place. Two in particular will be discussed: first, the encounter between a ‘de-Islamised’ archaeology, which in many Islamic countries is still very much geared to the pre-Islamic past, and Islamic heritage, which for many citizens of Islamic countries ‘reduced’ to folklore and popular culture. The second debate that will be highlighted is the unique contribution that Islamic archaeologists can make to overcome Orientalist perspectives and underline the universal value of Islamic history. After all, in the words of Winfred Cantwell-Smith, “for fourteenth centuries the Islamic has been one of the salient ways of being human”.