Douglass Bailey

Professor
Professor Douglass Bailey
Graduate Coordinator
Advisor

Contact Information

Phone: 
(415) 338–1427
Office Information: 
Building: 
Science
Room Number: 
381
Biography: 

Ph.D Cambridge University, 1991

Interests: Art and Visual Culture, Prehistoric Art, Archaeology, Representation, Theory, The Contemporary Past

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My interests range widely. Current focus is on the archaeology of art and visual culture, and on art/archaeology as alternative production. Work is at the interface of art and archaeology, as well as in the challenging space beyond both disciplines. Intentions are to reposition our approaches to prehistoric visual culture and to create radical alternatives to archaeological publication (e.g., the Unearthed book; see cover above). Graduate applicants wishing to explore these topics must contact me before submitting their formal applications. Other interests: Surrealist periodicals; DADA; early 20th century photography; the anthropological, archaeological, and visual archive; and the prehistoric archaeology of Europe. Please see my photo work.

Background

Before joining SFSU in 2008, I was Head of Archaeology at Cardiff University in the UK where I was awarded a personal chair in 2006. My PhD (1991) and MPhil (1986) are both from Cambridge University; my AB is from Dartmouth.

Projects

Art/Archaeology/Art

Through alternative output of traditional materials, I have been working in a new space beyond the disciplinary definitions and boundaries of art and archaeology. The concern is not to interpret the art of the past or assign meaning to actions of past peoples; the intent is to create new work using the past and its remnants as material and resource, as palette and medium. The project practices a dissident archaeology through the visual, and creates provocative output. For a recent overview click here to see my TAG-Chicago talk. 

For a published example, click here to see a PDF of Cutting the Earth/Cutting the Body.

Select project publications: Bailey, D.W., Cockrane, A. and Zambelli, J. 2010. Unearthed. Norwich: Sainsbury Centre.

Bailey, D.W. 2012. Cutting the earth / cutting the body. In A. González-Ruibal (ed.) Reclaiming Archaeology: Beyond the Tropes of Modernity, pp. 337-45. London: Routledge.

 

Present-Past-(Re)presenatation: Romania

With Dr Steve Mills (Cardiff University, UK), I was co-PI of a European Union project (£300,000 / $477,829) investigating cross-disciplinary approaches to art and the landscape. Basing our work on the modern village of Măgura, in southern Romania, the project wrestled with issues of representation and documentation. Using a diverse set of methods and approaches the project created multi-media, multi-period interpretations of a rural community which has been a center of rural life for over 8000 years. Participants ranged from archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, land artists, photographers, and ethnographic film-makers to local school children, politicians, shop-keepers, and village residents.

Select project publications: Biella, P. and Druvofka, I. 2010. Eternity Was Born in the Village. Philadelphia and San Francisco: Bilingual Media. Jasmin, M. 2010. The Brain of the Archaeologist. Paris: Deux Ponts. Mills, S. 2010. Interventions: Margura Past and Present. Cardiff: Cardiff University. Mirea, P. 2010. The Lower Danue in Prehistory. Bucuresti: Renaissance. Thorne, S. 2010. Some Spaces. Cardiff: Thorne Music. Thorne, S. 2010. Romanian Village Soundscape. Cardiff: Thorne Music. Tsantareanu, E. and Nemteanu, R. 2010. Human Cultural Change in the Romanian Rural Landscape. Bucuresti: Renaissance.

 

The Interpretation of Prehistoric Art

A long-running project has been the critical reassessment of prehistoric art, specifically the smal anthropomorphic figures of Neolithic central and southeastern Europe (6500-3500 cal. BC). Through a series of publications, I have argued that we must understand representations of art not as simple representations of past realities (i.e., as Goddesses or evidence of matriarchy), but as subtle, but powerful elements through which identities and relationships of appearance emerge, change, are manipulated, and lead to unintended consequences. Issues of stereotypes, origins of the gendered body, the materiality of fired clay, and the rhetoric of representation are all in play. 

Select project publications: Bailey, D.W. 2005. Prehistoric Figurines: Representation and Corporeality. London: Routledge

Bailey, D.W. 2010. Prehistoric Art. In M. Stokstad and M. Cothren (eds.) Art History (4th edition), pp. 1-26. New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall

Bailey, D.W. 2012. Figurines, corporeality and the origins of gender. In D. Bolger (ed.) Companion to Gender Prehistory, pp. 244-64. Oxford: John Wiley.

 

 

Spirits of Clay: Jomon and European Figurines

With Dr Simon Kaner (University of East Anglia, UK), I coordinated a series of museum exhibitions and academic symposia. The project brought together prehistoric figurines from two of the world’s great traditions: the Japanese Jomon and the East European Neolithic. Through an exhibition at the British Museum (winter 2009/10) and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (spring 2010), the project assembled some of the world's outstanding examples of prehistoric art. Each exhibition complemented an academic symposium at which archaeologists, anthropologists, creative and visual artists presented new interpretations and approaches and debate questions of explanation and meaning. Major funding was provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) [£349,500 / $689,878] and a range of public organizations in Europe and Japan.

Select project publications: Bailey, D.W., Cochrane, A. and Zambelli, J. 2010. Unearthed: a Comparative Study of Jomon Dogu and Neolithic Figurines. Norwich: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

 

Contested Histories of Angel Island

With Professor Peter Biella and film-makers Daniel Chein and Kelly Grabianowsky, I produced a film about the multiple histories and understanding of the Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. The project aims to educate students, teachers and community members about the multicultural history of the Bay Area by focusing on the contested heritage of Angel Island, best know as the Ellis Island of the west. Contested Histories provides a unique forum for multiple perspectives on the past as it has been created and as it continues to be constructed, reconstructed, and exploited. The project is supported by the generous funding of the Farnley Tynas Foundation.

Select project publications: What Was Angel Island? (DVD; 13:20 mins). Click here to see video. 

 

Southern Romania Archaeological Project

With Dr Radian Andreescu (National Museum of History, Bucureşti), I am co-Principal Investigator of a multi-national excavation project (50-70 person team) in southern Romania. The Southern Romania Archaeological Project (SRAP) started in 1998. The project investigates the origins and consequences of sedentism from 8000-2500 BC along the Teleorman River, a Danube tributary. SRAP is a collaboration between Cardiff University, the National Historical Museum of Romania and the Teleorman Regional Historical Museum in Alexandria (Romania). Participants are drawn from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth (Mark Macklin, Tom Coulthard), Nottingham (Amy Bogaard), St. Andrews (Ruth Robinson), Sheffield (Mike Charles, Rob Craigie), Bristol (Richard Evershed) and Leiden (Laurens Thissen). Funding has come from UK (British Academy, Society of Antiquaries of London) and Romanian sources (Ministry of Culture, Teleorman County Council).

Select project publications: Bailey, D.W., Mirea, P., Thissen, L., Mills, S. and Andreescu, R. 2012. The early Neolithic in Southern Romania. In D. Boric (ed.) Neolithic Identities, pp. 123-45. Oxford: Oxbow.

 

Podgoritsa Archaeological Project

From 1993-1995, with Ruth Tringham (UC Berkeley) I was co-Principal Investigator of the Podgoritsa Archaeological Project (15-25 people) in northeastern Bulgaria. At Podgoritsa we investigated the extra-mural dimensions of a late Neolithic (fifth millennium BC) tell settlement. Results documented the vacillation in availability of landscape (for cultivation and for other uses) and the gradual rise in local water-tables, a rise that conditioned the eventual abandonment of the settlement. Funding came from UK sources as well as from US National Science Foundation.

Select project publications: Bailey, D.W., Tringham, R.E., Bass, J., Hamilton, M, Neuman, H., Angelova, I. and Raduncheva, A. 1998. Expanding the dimensions of early agricultural tells: the Podgoritsa Archaeological Project. Journal of Field Archaeology 25(4): 373-96.

 

Publications

My publications include six authored or edited books as well as journal articles and book chapters, reviews and more popular commentaries. 

 

Click here for my academia.edu site. 

 

Classes Taught as SFSU

Archaeology 

Anth 110: Introduction to Archaeology

Anth 301: Foundations of Archaeology: Theory

Anth 450: Archaeology of Ritual and Religion

Anth 710: Graduate Seminar in the Archaeological Theory 

Visual Anthropology/Visual Culture

Anth 326: Origins and Art and Visual Representation

Anth 328: Anthropology and Photography

Anth 750: Graduate Seminar in Visual Anthropology: the Fixed Image

Anth 780: Graduate Seminar in Visual Anthropology: Core Concepts

 

Click here to view Douglass Bailey's Curriculum Vitae in PDF form.

 

Douglass Bailey giving a lecture