Architectural Communities of Practice: Ancestral Pueblo Kiva Production During the Chaco and Post-Chaco Periods in the Northern Southwest
AuthorRyan, Susan Christine
AdvisorMills, Barbara J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 17-Dec-2013
AbstractThis study analyzes the vernacular architecture of ancestral Pueblo kivas dating from the Pueblo II (A.D. 900-1150) and Pueblo III (A.D. 1150-1300) periods in the northern, middle, and southern San Juan regions in the American Southwest in order to shed light on communities of practice and their social, temporal, and spatial production practices. This research specifically examines kivas--or round rooms used for ritual and domestic activities--to address how architecture, as a symbolic system, emphasized the ways in which sign-objects were actively mediated by communities of practice and how their semiotic signatures can shed light on material expressions of ancestral Pueblo group identity. The theoretical perspectives used within this study are influenced by the work of educators and anthropologists analyzing the processes by which knowledge and skills are learned and transmitted from one generation to the next--these processes are responsible for the continuity of all material culture. This study adopts a community of practice approach to analyzing ancestral Pueblo kiva architecture for two primary reasons. First, the continuity of all material culture--including architecture--depends on the processes by which knowledge and skills are learned and transmitted from one generation to the next. Second, architectural production is an additive technology in which variations in learning frameworks are encoded as choices made by production groups during construction. The methodological applications used within this study are crucial to the identification and analysis of communities of practice in that additive vernacular architectural forms are encoded with learned production techniques. Learned production techniques were materially manifested as unique modes of fabrication and were recognized as the semiotic signatures of particular communities of practice. This study is the seedling from which larger research may germinate, providing insights into large-scale anthropological processes including identity formation and maintenance, population movement, the psychological effects of population aggregation, the nature and extent of social networks, the transmission and practice of learning, the production and movement of material culture, and the development and dissolution of political and ritual organization.
Degree ProgramGraduate College