Paul Mullins
Fall 2014 Office Hours Mondays 1:30-3:00, Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 and by appt. 
Office: Cavanaugh 413B (274-9847)

This course examines archaeological scholarship on European colonization and the post-colonial material world. Course materials focus on material life and the diversity of sociocultural experiences in North America since 1492.  The class examines how historical archaeologists have interpreted life in the world of global capitalism and colonization over the last half millennium and how archaeological insights can be used to understand and critique our own world.  We are particularly interested in the relationship between systems of difference (such as racism) and the political implications of such research among archaeologists working with contemporary constituencies.  The distinctive analytical techniques of historical archaeology will be studied, including documentary research, artifact analysis methods, and field excavation techniques. The course will probe the interdisciplinary nature of historical archaeology, assess the social significance of archaeological knowledge, and scrutinize cultural, class, and gendered influences on archaeological interpretation.

Exercises and Assignments


1971, from Cavanaugh Hall looking east at Blake Street;  IUPUI University Library Special Collections and Archives

Course grading will be derived from four analysis exercises (20% each), one class presentation (10%), and attendance (10% of the course grade).

There are four exercises. Three of the exercises analyze material culture from historic archaeological sites, and one analyzes archaeological data from our own material assemblages.  These are your major assignments for the semester, so please schedule ahead sufficient time to do your best work on them, and do not consider skipping one without accepting a serious drop in your final course grade.

At some point in the semester, each student will present a selection of the readings assigned in the same night (10% of your final grade).  You must prepare a Powerpoint on the reading to present in class.  You should expect to direct the class' discussion of the reading:  your review should minimally be about 10-15 minutes.  Anybody who does not complete the Powerpoint presentation will not receive credit for the reading.  You can volunteer to present any reading of your choosing on a first-come, first-serve basis; any students who do not sign up by September 10 will be assigned a reading. 

Participation in class discussion and attendance at lecture are key to comprehension.  All students who attend class and miss two or fewer class meetings will receive the full 10 points toward attendance.  If you miss three class meetings two points will be deducted from your attendance score (i.e., you would receive eight attendance points); miss four days and receive six of 10 attendance points; miss five days and receive four of 10 attendance points; miss six classes and receive two attendance points; and miss seven or more classes and you will not receive 10% of the final course grade.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class meeting on a course roster that circulates through class.  If you come in late, you must ensure that you sign this roster at the end of class; at the end of the semester I will not negotiate over the days you actually attended but forgot to sign the attendance roster. I will not allow students to sign the roster if they arrive halfway through the class meeting; please discuss any delays outside your control with me (e.g., caught in traffic jam, but not an errant alarm clock).  An excused absence is a documented illness (i.e., a physician's note, not simply sniffles in the next class or sounding really crappy on the phone) or an absence for participation in an Athletic Department-excused event.  I will be reasonably forgiving about things over which you have no control, like flat tires and sick children.  I will negotiate these things on a case-by-case basis, but please let me know immediately via email and do not plan to barter over these absences at semester's end.

If you miss any assignment or your reading presentation, you are responsible to contact me as soon as possible via email. Exercises or review essays turned in late will be penalized a letter grade each day they are late. Because it is essential that I have all garbage samples in my hands on time to make copies and re-distribute these for your written analyses, you absolutely must complete your garbage refuse sample by the due date of October 6. If you cannot complete an assignment on time, please see me anyway: I will negotiate a late penalty, but you cannot mathematically afford to completely miss any exercise or the review and expect to do well. Please do not wait until the last week of the semester to negotiate these extensions.  You can email me assignments to my IUPUI address; please do not email exercises in Oncourse.  You also can leave printed copies in my mailbox in Cavanaugh 413. 

The syllabus includes deadlines for all assignments and test dates: it is your responsibility to know when assignments are due and tests are scheduled.  If there are any errors to the syllabus or weather-induced schedule changes, they will be placed on this syllabus, announced in class, and posted on Oncourse. There will not be any extra credit material. If you do not complete coursework by semester's end you will receive no credit for unfinished work unless you have a legitimate reason for tardiness that we have previously discussed. You can monitor your grades over the semester on Oncourse

Indianapolis Casket Co. Postcard, 1912 (from collection of Dr. Mullins)

Above: 1912 postcard close-up of the Indianapolis Casket Company, which sat at 521 West North Street.  The company moved to the site in 1909 and remained there until its purchase by the Indiana University Foundation in 1984; it was demolished the following year.  The site is today parking lot 73 south of Sigma Theta Tau.


Graduate students are expected to complete all course requirements as outlined in the syllabus.  In addition you will be required to complete an annotated bibliography that is a minimum of 10 pages in length.  I will expect to meet with you each at least once during the preparation of the paper to read a draft at least three weeks before the paper is due. 

All work in the course is conducted in accordance with the University’s academic misconduct policy.  Cheating includes dishonesty of any kind with respect to exams or assignments. Plagiarism is the offering of someone else’s work as your own: this includes taking un-cited material from books, web pages, or other students, turning in the same or substantially similar work as other students, sneaking a peek at the neighbor's exam, or failing to properly cite other research.  If you are suspected of any form of academic misconduct you will be called in for a meeting at which you will be informed of the accusation and given adequate opportunity to respond.  A report will be submitted to the Dean of Students, who will decide on further disciplinary action.  Please consult the University Bulletin’s academic misconduct policy or me if you have any questions.

Be absolutely certain to keep a copy of any emailed assignments you send to me should the email disappear or not arrive at my end, and save every single assignment in two places until grades have been assigned:  Don't just save it on your laptop or one thumb drive, since they can crash, get lost, or be purloined by somebody who undervalues your commitment to education, and do not delete assignments instantly after their due date until their grades have been posted to Oncourse.  Even if you miss a due date, contact me so that you can complete a partial credit makeup.  Even if it is embarrassing to acknowledge that you simply forgot an assignment due date or your boss unexpectedly demanded a long shift when you planned to do the assignment, please come see me and I will do my very best to resolve it in some way that doesn't mean you receive no credit at all.

The Office of Adaptive Educational Services (AES) ensures that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations from the University and their professors.  Students must register with the AES office in order to receive such services.

Portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, pagers, two-ways, and PDA’s, must be turned off before entering the classroom.  You can use a laptop in class for note-taking but should silence it; do not surf the web in class.  You must let me know in advance if you must monitor your phone in class (e.g., pregnancy monitoring, disabled family, or contact with kids I will understand on a reasonable basis, but you should not expect to stay in touch during class with a significant other who adores your witty text, buddies planning the rest of their day, monitoring your significant other's selfies, and so on).  Anyone whose electronic device disturbs class will be given a verbal warning on first offense and will be asked to meet with me after class if they continue to disturb the group.

The classroom is a safe speech situation in which it is your responsibility to treat other classmates fairly and with mutual respect, even if they have the audacity to disagree with you, champion an opinion that is inconsistent with your worldview, or simply bore you.  Anyone who talks when someone else is talking, is hostile, or otherwise violates classroom etiquette (e.g., does other homework, reads the newspaper) will be considered to be in violation of this policy.  Students who fail to adhere to these guidelines will be asked to meet with me.

All work in this course is intended to fulfill the University's Principles of Undergraduate Learning.  The class focuses on critical, self-reflective thinking, integrates knowledge from a variety of disciplinary and sociocultural perspectives, examines social and cultural complexity, and probes the impact of knowledge on our everyday decision-making.  Do let me know if the course does not satisfy any of the missions included in the Principles.

A basic requirement of this course is that you will participate in class and conscientiously complete writing and reading assignments.  If you miss more than half our class meetings within the first four weeks of the semester without contacting me, you will be administratively withdrawn from this section. If you miss more than four classes in the first four weeks, you may be withdrawn. Administrative withdrawal may have academic, financial, and financial aid implications. Administrative withdrawal will take place after the full refund period, and if you are administratively withdrawn from the course you will not be eligible for a tuition refund. If you have questions about the administrative withdrawal policy at any point during the semester, please contact me.

1913 postcard image flooding at Kingan's Packing House

A 92-100 (95)
A- 89-91 (90)
B+ 86-88 (87)
B 82-85 (84)
B- 79-81 (80)
C+ 76-78 (77)
C 70-75 (73)
D 60-69 (65)
F 0-60

Dates banner

Take out your calendars and record the following important dates. You are responsible for remembering all assignment and exam dates.

Aug 25-27: NO CLASS--I will be on a research trip and return September 3rd



FOODWAYS ASSEMBLAGE EXERCISE DUE October 13  Available on Oncourse

Monday October 20th Fall Break  Wednesday October 22nd NO CLASS 




Readings banner

The course has one assigned text that we will discuss in class.  Please understand that it will be very difficult to do well in the class if you do not have sustained access to the book, so do not try to get through the semester without at least sharing it with somebody.  The book can be purchased inexpensively online; click on the title below for used or new copies from a range of online retailers.  The book can also be found in the University Bookstore.  All remaining readings can be accessed by clicking on the article's title in the syllabus or going to Oncourse.

Required text:

Deetz, James 

1996 In Small Things Forgotten: The Archeology of Early American Life. 2nd edition. Anchor Press, New York.  The earlier edition is not significantly different from the 1996 revision.

Course outline banner

Aug 25-27

NO CLASS--Sorry, I will on a research trip and return September 3rd

Sept 3, 8-10

What is historical archaeology?

Sep 15-17

What are capitalism and colonialism? Why are they important in historical archaeology?
The history of collecting and the origins of anthropological archaeology


Sep 22-24

The relationship between texts and objects: middle-range theory
Searching for the great White patriot: nationalism and historic preservation



Sep 29-Oct 1

Ideology: Legitimizing Inequality in Material Culture and Archaeological Practice



Oct 6-8

The Georgian Revolution: an anthropological view of Anglo America


FOODWAYS ASSEMBLAGE EXERCISE DUE October 13  Available on Oncourse

Oct 13-15

People without history?: the archaeology of "common people" and history's invisible masses


FALL BREAK OCTOBER 20, NO CLASS OCTOBER 22nd (sorry, away on a research trip)

October 22 Gruesome Realities of Custer's Last Stand

Oct 27-29, November 3

The archaeology of homelessness

Movies(about 15 minutes, please be prepared to discuss in class October 29)




Nov 10-12

How much did that plate cost?: ceramic indices
Ceramics and culture: beyond form and function



Nov 17-19, 24

Pipes: stem dating and stylistic analysis
Glass: form analysis and manufacture-deposition lag analysis


Dec 1-3

Public Archaeologies
The field today: cultural resource management, academia, and other archaeological employment


Dec 8-10, 15

Finding power in the ground: archaeologies of oppression, discipline, and domination


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Last updated October 13, 2014
Photos of campus courtesy IUPUI University Library Special Collections and Archives