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ARCHAEOLOGIAL CONGRESS 4, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA,

JANUARY 1999
SESSION: THE FORM, PHYSIQUE AND FITNESS OF EDUCATIONAL
ARCHAEOLOGY: IT IS WORKING OUT?
ETHNICITY AND IDENTITY: ARCHAEOLOGY, EDUCATION AND
BRAZILIAN IDENTITY
PEDRO PAULO A FUNARI
INTRODUCTION: ARCHAEOLOGY AND EDUCATION
It is now well accepted that archaeology and education are
inextricably linked (cf. MacKenzie & Stone 1994) and that the past is often
represented as mirrored by the dominant groups in a given society. The late
educator Paulo Freire warned that educators need to use their students
cultural universe as a point of departure, enabling students to recognise
themselves as possessing a specific and important cultural identity (interview
in MacLaren 1988: 224). Both education and archaeology deal thus with the
manipulation of present and past to forge identities useful for people in power
and archaeologists and educators have been active promoters of critical
approaches. Critical pedagogy has been concerned with student experience,
taking the problems and needs of the students themselves as its starting point
and fighting for pedagogical empowerment (Giroux & MacLaren 1986: 234238). Archaeologists, acknowledging that history is written by the winners
(Paynter 1990: 59), are now aware that archaeological research must shift
from being conducted within a simple people-to-nature to a people-to-people
perspective, as proposed Mazel (1989: 25) and, as a consequence,
archaeologists must monitor the use of material culture to forge identities
(Mazel & Stewart 1987: 169).
Archaeologists have been pointing out that silent majorities
(Beaudry, Cook & Mrozowski 1991: 175) are reflected in the material record
and that archaeologists must increasingly take into account the interests of
native people (Trigger 1990: 785) and of ordinary people in general (Funari
1994). There has been a call to dismantle the univocal architecture of
discourse relating to the past (Shanks & Tilley 1987: 7), favouring pluralism
and the explosion of multiple discourses about the past, including in our
presentation of the past a variety of excluded subjects, promoting thus
multiculturalism and empowerment (Jones 1993: 203). Archaeology has been
shifting its focus from elite evidence to ordinary peoples material culture
(Orser 1988: 314), and the consumers of archaeological knowledge have been

considered no longer as consumers of history but as possible producers of


history (Baker 1991: 58). Identity and class interests are at the heart of
archaeologists concerns (Leone 1983: 41) and people must be encourage to
think about the past and its significance to present issues (Arestizbal 1991:
13). Archaeology and education intersect particularly in museums, classrooms
and textbooks and this paper deals with the use of material culture in Brazil
to forge local, state and national identities by studying three cases: the mixed
features of educational archaeology in a southern community, the mixed
feelings about black identity and how school textbooks deal with
archaeological subjects.
ARCHAEOLOGY AND BRAZILIAN IDENTITY
Brazil is a most strikingly country, beset by contradictions.
Nowadays, it boasts the tenth largest economy, almost as big, in terms of
GNP, as Canada and Spain. At the same time, it has one of the most appalling
maldistribution of income: the richest 20% earn 32 times more than the
poorest 20%
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I owe thanks to the following colleagues, who forwarded papers
and helped me in different ways: Aron Mazel, Charles E. Orser, Jr., Michael
Shanks, Bruce G. Trigger. The ideas expressed here are my own, for which I
alone am therefore responsible. The research was possible thanks to the
following institutions: Brazilian National Research Council, Museu de
Sambaqui de Joinville.

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Departamento de Histria, Instituto de Filosofia e Cincias Humanas,
Universidade Estadual de Campinas, C. Postal 6110, Campinas, 13081-970,
SP, Brazil, fax 55 19 289 33 27, pedrofunari@sti.com.br.