David Raymond Carlson

Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington

Research Projects & Interests

Here you will find information on some of my ongoing projects and interests. Like most graduate students, my focus has shifted from when I entered graduate school, but I still maintain an interest in many of my previous research ideas.

Topics on this page include:

Archaeology of Race and Labor | Historical Archaeology in ISEA | Pedagogy | Other

Issei Labor, Sawmill Towns, and the Archaeology of Community and Race

My current research focuses on the relationship between labor, racism, racialization, and class on resource extraction sites in the Pacific Northwest. I am in the process of organizing a research project to investigate how issei (first-generation Japanese and Japanese-American migrant) workers on sawmill company towns built social and economic networks and created communities to meet their needs on the often stark and dangerous situations they found themselves in on sawmill company towns in the Pacific Northwest. I am particularly interested in how racism--in the form of racial discourse, segregation, and racialized labor hierarchies--influenced the formation of these communities and networks and how company towns contributed to the dynamics of race formation and racialization. This project has morphed into a full-fledged dissertation project, which I will begin the first season of fieldwork of in Summer 2016.

Those interested in learning more can visit the project website, the Issei at Barneston Project.

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Historical Archaeology in Island Southeast Asia

Source: Personal Photo

My original interest in plantation and landscape archaeology in Island Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. While I've sinced changed topics and locales, I still maintain an interest in the historical archaeology of this region. Key questions include: how did plantation owners manipulate the arrangement and nature of architecture and landscapes so as to control labor and naturalize a dominant ideology? How might slaves and laborers have resisted such domination? Unfortunately, a number of difficulties have made this research untenable for the moment, but I would like to return there in the future.

Relevant Publications:

  • Carlson, David and Amy Jordan. 2013. "Visibility and Power: Preliminary Analysis of Social Control on a Bandanese Plantation Compound, Eastern Indonesia." Asian Perspectives 52(2): 213-243. [Peer Reviewed] -- [PDF Proof]

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Archaeological Pedgagogy

I have developed a strong interest in archaeological pedagogy, particularly in the role active learning techniques can play in college instruction, and in techniques for developing critical reading and argumentative skills in large-lecture classrooms. See my Teaching page for more details.

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Other Interests

I have a number of other interests besides those above, mostly reflecting my interest in how archaeologists think about the past and recognition of the importance of involving non-archaeologists in archaeological research.

These interests include:

  • Epistemology of Archaeology: Epistemology is the philosophical discipline concerned with how we know what we know. While it has fallen somewhat out of favor in the broader discipline of archaeology, I still find it interesting. I am particularly intrigued by debates over how we build confidence in our claims, particularly in a multivocal environment.
  • Archaeological GIS: Archaeological GIS concerns the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geographic Information Science (GISci) to archaeology. I specialize in the application of GIS software and spatial analysis to archaeological questions, and am particularly interested in visibility/accessibility studies. While my current research has taken me away from this particular subset of GIS-based research, I still plan on integrating GIS into my dissertation work, as both a means of efficiently organizing data and as a way of presenting that data to the public.

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