Peter Johansen

Peter Johansen

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2008

My research and teaching interests focus on archaeological approaches to investigating the politics of everyday life. I study how entrenched and emergent modalities of power operate at smaller, largely non-institutional scales and contexts to produce historically contingent, sociologically meaningful, multi-scalar landscapes. These interests have led me to research the politics of Neolithic and Iron Age ritual and monumental practices and Iron Age settlement, residential and metallurgical practices and landscapes in southern India. My current research investigates the long-term techno-politics of ferrous metallurgy in the south Indian state of Karnataka. I am investigating how assemblages of materials, knowledge and practice contributed to a dynamic social history of metallurgical production and consumption, and in particular how power relations inhabit, and extend from, technological practices as people attempted to organize and control materials within wider resource assemblages over the course of the South Indian Iron Age, Early Historic and Medieval periods.

I currently co-direct the Maski Archaeological Research Project (MARP), an ongoing field project that explores the dynamic relationship between agro-pastoralism, settlement and metallurgy and the development of regional socio-political organization, differences and inequalities from the Neolithic through Medieval periods in South India. In addition to my research in South India I also work with Nlaka’pamux communities in the Fraser Canyon and South Thompson River regions of British Columbia on First Nation’s directed archaeological research and heritage management projects.


Representative Publications:

Bauer, Andrew and Peter Johansen. 2020. Making megaliths and constituting collectives: politics, places, and historicity in prehistoric South India. In The Archaeology of Knowledge Traditions of the Indian Ocean World, edited by H.P Ray. pp. 103-128. London: Routledge.

Johansen, Peter. 2019. On the Cusp of Social Change: Iron Working and Cattle Keeping at Bukkasagara at the onset of the South Indian Iron Age in Northern Karnataka. Archaeological Research in Asia. 18: 55-67.

Bauer, Andrew and Peter Johansen. 2019. The Maski Archaeological Research Project (2010-2018): Initial Results from a Multi-Period Interdisciplinary Project on the Raichur Doab. Current Science 117 (1): 46-56.

Johansen, Peter and Andrew Bauer. 2018. On the Matter of Resources and Techno-politics: The Case of Water and Iron in the South Indian Iron Age. American Anthropologist 120 (3): 412-428.

Johansen, Peter. 2018. The Issues and Problems of Ashmound Research in the Neolithic South Deccan: Contemporary Perspectives. Edited by R. Korisettar, pp.167-204. Beyond Stones and More Stones, Vol. II, Mythic Society, Bengalaru.

Johansen, Peter. 2016. The South Deccan Iron Age: Antecedents to Early Historic Andhradesa. In Amaravati: the Art of an Early Buddhist Monument in Context, edited by M Willis and A. Shimada, pp. 12-22. British Museum Press, London.

Johansen, Peter and Andrew Bauer. 2015. Beyond Culture History at Maski: Land Use, Settlement and Social Differences in Neolithic through Medieval South India. Archaeological Research in Asia 1-2: 6-16.

Bauer, Andrew and Peter Johansen. 2015. Prehistoric Mortuary Practices and the Constitution of Social Relationships: Implications of the First Radiocarbon Dates from Maski on the Occupational History of a South Indian “Type-Site”. Radiocarbon 57 (4): 795-806.

Johansen, Peter. 2014. Early Iron-working in Iron Age South India: New Evidence for the Social Organization of Production from northern Karnataka. Journal of Field Archaeology 39 (3): 256- 275.

Johansen, Peter. 2014. The politics of spatial renovation: reconfiguring ritual places and practice in Iron Age and Early Historic South India. Journal of Social Archaeology 14 (1): 59-86.

Johansen, Peter and Andrew Bauer (editors). 2011. The Archaeology of Politics: the Materiality of Political Practice and Action in the Past. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.


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