Peter Johansen

I study the archaeology and historical anthropology of prehistoric and early historic South Asia. My research interests include political economy and power relations, the construction and maintenance of social distinctions, landscape theory, settlement organization, land-use and architectural practices, ceramic and metallurgical production and consumption. I am also very interested in issues of intellectual history and knowledge production, especially as these pertain to the development of archaeological theory, practice and narrative in South Asia.

Current Research

My research has explored the intersection of political economy and spatial production in the making of socio-political distinctions during the South Indian Iron Age (1200-400BC) and Early Historic Period (400BC-AD 400).  For the past six years I have been working with a multi-disciplinary archaeological research project (the Early Historic Landscapes of the Tungabhadra Corridor/EHLTC), investigating the dynamics of Late Prehistoric and Early Historic period settlement in a small study region in the Hampi-Daroji Hills of Karnataka, South India.  My research focuses on inferring multi scalar settlement places from distributional relationships of archaeological data and the role of residential, architectural and metallurgical practices in the making of politically salient social distinctions during the South Indian Iron Age.  I am currently directing the Maski Archaeological Research Project (MARP), a multi-year research project in collaboration with Dr. R. Gopal (Director, Karnataka Directorate of Archaeology and Museums) and Dr. Andrew M. Bauer (Assistant Professor, DePauw University).  This research explores long-term transformations in settlement organization, metallurgical and agro-pastoral land-use practices in the Raichur District of northern Karnataka.

Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2008

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Johansen, Peter (2010). Site Maintenance Practices and Settlement Social Organization in Iron Age Karnataka, India: Inferring Settlement Places and Landscapes from Surface Distributions of Ceramic Assemblage Attributes.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29 (4): 432-454.

Johansen, Peter (2009). Site Structure and Settlement Organization at Iron Age Bukkasagara and Rampuram: Results from Surface Collections and Documentation. Man and Environment: Journal of the Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies.

Johansen, Peter (2008). Producing Settlement Landscapes and Social Difference in Iron Age South India: Surface Collection and Documentation at Bukkasagara and Rampuram, Karnataka.  Antiquity 82 (317).

Bauer, Andrew, Peter Johansen, and Radhika Bauer (2007). Toward a political ecology in early South India: preliminary considerations of the social context of land and animal use in the Southern Deccan, Neolithic through Early Historic Periods. Asian Perspectives 46 (1): 1-38.

Johansen, Peter (2004). Landscapes, Monumental Architecture and Ritual: A Reconsideration of the South Deccan Ashmounds. Journal of Anthropological Anthropology 23 (3): 309-330.

Johansen, Peter (2003). Recasting the Foundations: New Approaches to Regional Understandings of South Asian Archaeology. Asian Perspectives 42-2: 193-206.

Johansen, Peter (2000). British Social Theory and the Development of Colonial Archaeology in Nineteenth Century India.  In Chicago Anthropology Exchange, Volume XXX: 20-35.

Edited Volumes

Johansen, Peter and Andrew Bauer (2011) The Archaeology of Politics: the Materiality of Political Practice and Action in the Past.  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Johansen, Peter, Kathleen Morrison and Namita Sugandhi (2003). Asian Perspectives 42 (2)Special Issue on South Asian Archaeology. University of Hawaii Press.

Book Chapters

Johansen, Peter (2011). Practicing Social Difference, Producing Social Space: the Political Architectonics of Iron Age Settlement Places.  To appear in The Archaeology of Politics: the Materiality of Political Practice and Action in the Past, edited by P.G. Johansen and A.M. Bauer, pp. 186-220.  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Johansen, Peter and Andrew Bauer (2011). Introduction: Reconfiguring ‘Politics’ in the Reconstruction of Past Political Production. To appear in The Archaeology of Politics: the Materiality of Political Practice and Action in the Past, edited by P.G. Johansen and A.M. Bauer, pp. 1-28. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Sinopoli, Carla, Peter G. Johansen, and Kathleen Morrison (2009). Changing cultural landscapes of the Tungabhadra Valley, South India.  In Power and Polities: Archaeological Perspectives on the Landscapes of Early States, edited by Steven Falconer and Charles L. Redman, pp. 11-41. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Johansen, Peter (n.d.). The Issues and Problems of Ashmound Research in the Neolithic South Deccan: Contemporary Perspectives.  To appear in Korisettar et al. eds, Archaeological and Historical Research in Karnataka: University of Dharwar Golden Jubilee Commemoration Volume.

In Preparation

Johansen, Peter
Iron Age Bukkasagara: an Early South Indian Iron Age Settlement with Evidence of Iron Production and Cattle Keeping. Submitted to the journal Antiquity.