Popular accounts frequently depict the human past as shrouded in mystery and the occult. Books, television shows and movies about ancient societies often reference extraterrestrials and lost continents. Why? And, what are the implications? In this lecture, Kurnick will explain pseudo-archaeology, why it is popular and why it is problematic. She will dig into pseudo-archaeological claims about the human past, showing they are not just silly and strange, but are often at their core racist.
Sarah Kurnick is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is an anthropological archaeologist specializing in the ancient Maya and her research focuses on the creation, perpetuation and negation of institutionalized social inequality and political authority. Her primary interests include the role of the past in shaping the present and how archaeology can foster positive social change. Since 2014, Kurnick has co-directed a community archaeology project at the site of Punta Laguna in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.