Felipe Gaitan-Ammann will present at the seminar in Archaeological Encounters on Tuesday, October 26, at 6:00 pm. His talk is entitled “Through the Priest’s Ear: An Entangled Story of Life and Death at the Jesuit Church of San Ignacio, 1610–2021.”

This seminar will examine multiple avenues of interdisciplinary research arising from a vast archaeological dataset recently recovered at the Jesuit church of San Ignacio – one of the most significant colonial buildings still standing in the historical district of Bogotá, Colombia. The evidence excavated at San Ignacio testifies to over four centuries of domestic, funerary, spiritual, and bodily practices which, in turn, mirror complex processes of identity construction in a particularly isolated urban area of the Spanish colonial empire. By exploring the analytical possibilities of this rich collection of skeletal, artifactual, and archival information, we not only suggest new developments and directions in Latin American historical archaeology, but also partake in important initiatives of memory construction currently permeating all layers of Colombian social and political life. Ultimately, this seminar explores the part that archaeological heritage could and should play in new, multilayered instances of memory-making. It addresses the uneasiness with which the effort to memorialize the physical evidence of death, either past or present, may be received and dealt with by a society deeply traumatized by war.

Felipe Gaitan-Ammann
is an anthropologist specializing in the historical archaeology of the Spanish colonies in the New World. His research draws on contemporary social theory to examine the cultural significance of a wide range of materialities associated with complex processes of ethnogenesis and identity formation in early capitalist contexts. Gaitan-Ammann’s studies have focused on the development of modern lifestyles among urban elites in the northern Andes and, more recently, on the social life of enslavers and the enslaved in late-seventeenth century Panama. His other research interests include the anthropology of early modern piracy, material culture theory, museum anthropology, and the politics of archaeological heritage in Latin America. He was a faculty member in the departments of anthropology at Brown University, the University of Chicago, and Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, where he now coordinates the Center for Preventive Archaeology.

This event will be held via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 10 am on the day of the event. This event will be live with automatic captions.