Publication Date

Fall 7-1-2012


The claim that epistemological differences between western science and indigenous research methodologies are the roots of contention of the interpretation and construction of histories is investigated. An exploratory mixed methods approach is employed to test whether current systems of geospatial analysis and representation are suitable for understanding different ways of knowing, focused on the spatial domain as a fundamental cognitive domain. Recent studies indicate that spatial cognition is significantly different among speakers of different language groups and that spatial ontology is not universal across the human population, providing the theoretical underpinning for questioning the organizational principles of currently used systems of geo- representation. The emerging theory of multimodality is used to explore this problem in practice, as a combined social-, and bio-semiotic approach. The premise is that no mode of representation can cover all meaning, and that epistemological implications are expected among different cultural constellations of modes of perception and representation are used. This research explores the relationship between perceptual grounding of ontologies and possible modes of representation in current models of archaeological research and within American Indian discourse.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Boone, James

Second Committee Member

Duvall, Chris

Third Committee Member

Watkins, Joe

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Anthropology Commons