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Maria Theresia Starzmann

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Binghamton University, 2011

Stephen Leacock Building, Room 837
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2T7

Tel.: 514-398-4289
Fax: 514-398-7476

maria [dot] starzmann [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)


Office Hours

Thursday 2:00 to 4:00 pm or by appointment.


ANTH 413: Gender in Archaeology

Research Interests

As an archaeologist working in contexts of the contemporary past, my research focuses on life in institutions of confinement, such as labor camps and prisons. I combine analyses of material remains with an investigation of the political and economic context of the institution in order to develop a ‘political economy of punishment’ approach that is applicable to the archaeological past. The goal is to be able to understand how the material practices of penal politics relate to the economic organization of society at large. In addition, it is a goal of this research to diversify the archaeological narrative by integrating, wherever possible, the memories and stories of those ‘on the inside’ into my analysis.

My recent work on the history and politics of archaeology focuses on gaining an understanding of the cultural context within which Middle Eastern archaeology formed as an academic discipline and as a field science in Germany. This research analyzes the colonial entanglements of archaeology in historical perspective. To what extent the encounters of German archaeologists with the contemporary ‘Orient’ transformed existing colonial imaginaries regarding the ‘Oriental Other,’ and how this transformation happened, is a major focus of my research. I engage both in a critical reading of Orientalist discourses and in an analysis of the material practices of fieldwork, especially in regards to the hiring of workers, the management of labor, etc. 

Representative Publications

Starzmann, Maria Theresia. Forthcoming. Excavating Tempelhof airfield: Objects of memory and the politics of absence. Rethinking History 18(2).

Starzmann, Maria Theresia. 2013. Spontaneity and habitus: Stone tool production in communities of practice at Fıstıklı Höyük,” in Interpreting the Late Neolithic in Upper Mesopotamia, edited by Olivier Nieuwenhuyse, Reinhard Bernbeck, Peter M.M.G. Akkermans, and Jana Rogasch, pp. 161-169. Publications on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Archaeology (PALMA). Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

Starzmann, Maria Theresia. 2012. “Archaeological fieldwork in the Middle East: Academic agendas, labour politics and neo colonialism,” in European Archaeology Abroad, edited by Sjoerd van der Linde, Monique van den Dries, Nathan Slanger, and Corijanne G. Slappendel, pp. 401-414. Leiden: Sidestone Press.