Nick Shepherd

The Mirror in the Ground

An important and original contribution to the study of the archive, The Mirror in the Ground approaches the discipline of archaeology in South Africa from the perspective of an interest in visualities. Author Nick Shepherd argues that it makes sense to talk about an archaeological aesthetics. The book explores the part a specifically archaeological concern with material cultures, objectified bodies and sites on the landscape has played in a local history of looking. Drawing from the archive of the South African archaeologist John Goodwin (1900–1959), the book interrogates the role of photography in the making of a disciplinary project in archaeology. JM Coetzee describes the book as 'a fresh way of looking at the photographic archive, with a commentary as moving and compassionate as it is unsettling.' Nick Shepherd is Associate Professor of Archaeology and African Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he convenes a graduate programme on Public Culture and Heritage. The Mirror in the Ground is the first volume in the relaunched Series in Visual Histories, produced by the Centre for Curating the Archive (CCA) at the University of Cape Town.
193 printed pages
Copyright owner
Original publication
Publication year
Jonathan Ball
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