Netflix, Apocalypses, and the Lost Civilization: Confronting Mainstream Pseudoarchaeology - Livestream
The 2022 Netflix “docuseries” Ancient Apocalypse, hosted by former journalist and author Graham Hancock, has provoked a firestorm of discussion in the press and social media. In this series, the host claims that comets destroyed an advanced civilization that existed during the Ice Age and whose survivors were the progenitors of ancient complex societies around the world. Archaeologists contend that Hancock’s claims are a form of pseudoarchaeology that misrepresent science and revive Victorian-era explanations of the past that are associated with colonialism and notions of cultural superiority. Hancock’s attack on archaeology and archaeologists has been so dismissive that it prompted an open letter to Netflix from the Society for American Archaeology, outlining the potential harm to the profession in the minds of the public and alluding to the ways this series could contribute to issues of racism and white supremacy. The series is just one recent example of the rejection of academic expertise and the promotion of conspiracy theories about scientific authority. Hancock and his supporters complain that archaeologists are practicing “wokeism,” bringing the debate squarely into current culture wars that include the rejection of liberal higher education.
Speaker: John W. Hoopes, University of Kansas
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