Introducing New Materialisms, Rethinking Ancient Urbanisms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the Mesoamerican city of Monte Alban a novel articulation of animacies, particularly those of mountains, with people. Mountains impelled people and, in some sense, assembled them and their different pasts into a multi-temporal field actualized by materials of different durabilities. The book aims to understand the ontological underpinnings of ‘founded’ Swahili towns through the examination of mosque construction. It shows that Swahili towns to have been locales of ‘great fluidity and movement’ subject to continual deterritorializing forces centered on mosques that themselves were not simply religious structures but material flows. Typical materialist approaches treat urbanism as a one-off human development, hiding the reality that past urban, proto-urban, and non-urban places, as well as uncentralized but populated landscapes, assumed a diverse array of sizes, densities, configurations, and materialities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Materialisms Ancient Urbanisms
EditorsSusan M Alt, Timothy R Pauketat
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781351008471
ISBN (Print)9781138542501, 9781138542464
StatePublished - Aug 22 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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