Archaeologists have long been interested in contemporary material culture, but only recently has a dedicated subfield of archaeology of the contemporary world begun to emerge. Although it is concerned mainly with the archaeology of the early to mid-twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in its explicit acknowledgment of the contemporary archaeological record as multi-temporal, the subfield is not defined by a focus on a specific time period so much as a particular disposition toward time, material things, the archaeological process, and its politics. This article considers how the subfield might be characterized by its approaches to particular sources and its current and emerging thematic foci. A significant point of debate concerns the role of archaeology as a discipline through which to explore ongoing, contemporary sociomaterial practices—is archaeology purely concerned with the abandoned and the ruined, or can it also provide a means by which to engage with and illuminate ongoing, contemporary, and future sociomaterial practices?


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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