Profiles

Christina Fredengren Associate Professor

Christina Fredengren

Forskare

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Works at Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies
Telephone 08-16 20 92
Email christina.fredengren@arklab.su.se
Visiting address Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7
Room 221
Postal address Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Christina Fredengren
Associate Professor

My research-fields are within archaeology, heritage studies, curatorship, gender theory and the environmental humanities. In archaeology I have mainly been concerned with exploring relations with waters and wetland. Currently the work deals with deposition of human- and animal remains in wet-contexts in Sweden in the project Tidens Vatten, particularly focusing on the LBA/EIA, discussing sacrifice and the inhumane (cf. Fredengren 2013, 2015, 2017). Depositions in water of artefacts and bodily remains, as well as the building of crannogs – man made islands or platforms were topics researched during my time as Director of Irelands research institute in Archaeology – that followed on from the fieldwork in the Crannog Research Programme for my PhD thesis on crannog landscapes at Lough Gara, Co. Sligo, Ireland.

In heritage studies my research troubles how heritage is valued in the present, and problematize the link to sustainable development (Fredengren 2012, 2015). This strand of research has been furthered in the meeting point between critical heritage studies and posthumanist feminism that blur the boundaries between nature/culture, material/immaterial and challenge the anthropocentric focus in heritage policy (Fredengren 2015). My research continues in the interface between heritage studies and the emerging field of the Environmental Humanities and curatorship (Fredengren 2016). Of particular interest are questions about Deep Time, materiality, ethics, intragenerational justice and care.

Keywords: water, wetland, depositions, bog bodies, sacrifice, late bronze age, pre-roman iron age, archaeology and science, body- and gender theory, new materialism, posthumanism, more-than-human, environmental humanities, deep time, heritage studies, curatorship

Research

Projects

Ongoing

Checking in with Deep Time (Formas 2017-2021)
This project run in collaboration with Prof Cecilia Åsberg aims to deal with the major research question of how to better re-tie the material and immaterial knots between past, present and future generations, and to suggest ways forward for moving towards innovative ways of checking in with our post-natural and materializing clocks. The project is methodologically innovative and aspires to have high impact on the approaches to sustainability, intergenerational justice and care in postnatural heritage management. It works with three studies - on focusing on the politicization of the long-term within the natural/cultural heritage sectors, the next with how vernacular temporalities are met and transformed on site at Gärstadsverken (a garbage disposal site situated on an Iron Age sanctuary) and theoretical work on intergenerational justice and care. Here traditional theories are compared to those developed within critical posthumanism and the environmental humanities. This project has an emphasis on citizens humanities and collaborative research. It also aims to provide humanities innovations to the civil services.

Tidens Vatten (Vetenskapsrådet, Berit Wallenberg, Vitterhetsakademin, Gad Rausing 2013-)
The project provides an overview of the depositions of human- and animal bones from waters and wetlands in Sweden. The aim is to give a better understanding och what effects these depositions may have had in society during Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.  Main questions are who got deposited? What human-animal relations were changed through these deposition and what power relationships were negotiated?  The project works with critical post-human theory to discuss the mattering of bodies and the collaboration with archaeological sciences (as osteology, isotope-analysis and DNA). This project has been published in several papers and the research is currently synthesized in a monograph with the working title: Sacrifice – the nature of the in-humane. The project continues, for example with the research at Lake Bokaren.

Bokaren project (in development with Susanna Eklund)
The site as Bokaren, Co. Uppland is a presumed lake-platform with finds of human- and animal remains, particularly horses. The finds were made in 1939 and collected by Professor Rutger Sernander and Nils Sundquist, the county archaeologist. The area was investigated in 1941 by Dr Bengt Lundholm. Since then, both finds and documentation were dispersed and the site was never fully published. A new effort to gather the material and to start an investigation of the site was made by Tidens Vatten that teamed up with Andreas Hennius and Susanna Eklund in a new joint project. The available osteological material was analyzed by Tidens Vatten and some of the material was radiocarbondated (see also Fredengren 2015), also a trial excavation was carried out in 2015 where a human skeleton and several horse bones were found together with worked wood, that could be a part of a platform. This project is under development and research-funding is searched for

Earlier (examples)
The Values of Heritage
The Crannog Research Programme

The Lake Settlement Project
 

Networks and affiliations

* Founder of Stockholm University Environmental Humanities Network together with Claudia Egerer and Karin Dirke.

*Scientific Leader of Deep time and Member of the Seed Box, an environmental humanities collaboratory at Linköping University, funded by Formas and Mistra

*Affiliated Researcher at the Posthumanities Hub at Tema Gender

*Member of Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network
*Member of AGE group – Archaeology and Gender in Europe

* Gexcel scholar

*Participates in COST Action on New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter'
http://newmaterialism.eu/
*Bogbody network

 

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Christina Fredengren. Journal of Wetland Archaeology 18 (1), 1-19

    This paper is inspired by new materialist gender theory and the way it reconfigures the analysis of bodies and the environment. Here the relationships entangled in wetlands and bogs through depositions are in focus. More specifically, it deals with the placing of bodily remains and artefacts in wet contexts around the political and religious centre of Uppåkra in Scania, South Sweden. The aim of this paper is to map some of the processes that led to those people ‘becoming bog bodies’ and investigates their role in a situated political ecology. By examining who these people were and became during the life course and in death, it will open up a discussion on precariousness, vulnerability and masculinity, where victims of sacrifice were perhaps not only selected, but also possibly made. The paper brings a neglected dataset of skeletal remains from bogs to the attention of research and present new radiocarbon dates as well as osteological analysis of these remains. It engages with concepts such as slow violence and necropolitics derived from discussions within the environmental humanities.

  • 2018. Christina Fredengren. Current Swedish Archaeology 26, 219-245

    This paper stems from a curiosity about relationships between water, depositions, life, death and sacrifice. It probes into how traditional binaries such as nature/culture, human/ animal, alive/dead and language/reality were addressed in Irish medieval place lore, using critical posthumanist theory to explore ways in which agential powers were not merely ascribed to the environment, but also observed and acknowledged by people in the past. It also considers how the agentialities of both artefacts and waters could have affected and made their way into human storytelling. In so doing, the paper presents a contribution from archaeology to the emerging field of environmental humanities, offering research that could entice us to sharpen our environmental sensibilities and respond to environmental change. Depositions of things and bodies in wet contexts are often understood as sacrifices made to deities located in the otherworld. However, there is plentiful evidence in archaeology and in medieval place-lore to suggest that waters were observed as being alive, as immanent beings, as more-than-human persons who could have received these depositions as gifts. This study explores how depositions would have added to and reconfigured such water-personhood in locally and regionally situated ways, and how they may also have worked as apparatuses for paying close attention to the water environment.

  • 2018. Christina Fredengren. Current Swedish Archaeology 26, 50-60

    The reasoning around the Anthropocene starts with a sobering clarification – human agency has not only created high culture, such as buildings, tools or art, by its actions. What are left are also heritages of  species and gender inequalities, scarred landscapes, waste, toxicities, species extinctions, mono-cultures, layers at the beds of oceans, climate and environmental change. This is a mixed heritage (often unlabelled) that is the result of material interferences that change the textures of times, that territorialize futures to come, that shape the spaces and cartographies within which future (multispecies) generations can manoeuvre.

    I ask again, with Haraway (2016:100), what measures need to be taken to make the Anthropocene as thin as possible? What are the means with which the humanities, however loosely formed, can contribute with towards that end? Here I share the visions of Riede, but find the paper somewhat limiting. Does the present predicament not demand of us a more undisciplined academic encounter – and a rewilding of the humanities – to form these transversal modes of querying past, present, futures? Does it not need a lot of creativity to find a range of engagements, knowledges and inspirations to work elsewise? What interests me is how to expand on scientifically informed multi-species storytelling, with a base in archaeological materials that deals with how to tie human-animal knots and temporal relations in other ways. There are other ways to relate to and be related to by the environment (see Fredengren, this volume). For such it is very premature to set boundaries for what archaeology may bring to the Environmental Humanities table, as both subjects are on the move. 

    Likewise, I ask how heritage is captured as time elements, in presentisms, in merges of materialities and meaning, in troubled bodies, in how to deal with anthropocentrism in heritage making, how to capture heritages as process ontologies as human-animal relations (Fredengren 2015, 2018). I also ask what modes and models of stewardship (who cares for whom, according to what ethic and on what mandate) come with the heritage business? I am curious about people’s relationships with the more-than-human, with things, place and spaces, and with care and curatorship in a wider sense. However, I do not envisage the meeting between environmental humanities and archaeology to be limited to these matters, but to be developed through various creative and affirmative encounters. 

    And then I ask … for what causes do we do this? Is it to establish subject boundaries and to carve up academic terrain, or for forming new types of unexpected collaborations? And perhaps, at the end of the day … as many of us would say, don’t we do it … for the love of the world?

  • 2017. Christina Fredengren. World archaeology 48 (4), 482-499

    The topic of deep time' has recently gained attention in the field of environmental humanities. In contrast, heritage studies have a narrower focus on the role of the past in the present. This paper probes into how encounters with deep time, archaeology and heritage could play a role in environmental ethics and issues of intergenerational justice and care. People's meetings with intermingled temporalities, and collisions of past and present, are highlighted through the peculiar and disruptive affect of exceptional preservation in crannogs, bog bodies, wetlands and lakes. It is argued that such archaeology has the potential to produce enchantment' effects, understood as energising moments of startling presence, which can be powerfully deployed to move people from ethical thinking and reflection towards ethical action. However, in order to acknowledge the particular power of deep-time archaeological effects, and to realise the potentialities of heritage, it needs to be approached differently.

  • Article Nature:Cultures
    2015. Christina Fredengren. Current Swedish Archaeology 23, 109-130

    This paper makes use of feminist posthumanism to outline how a range of heritage policies, practices and strategies, partly through their base in social constructivism have a clear anthropocentric focus. Not only do they risk downplaying materiality, but also a number of human and non-human others, driving a wedge between nature and culture. This may in turn be an obstacle for the use of heritage in sustainable development as it deals with range of naturalized others as if they have no agency and leaves the stage open for appropriation and exploitation.

    This paper probes into what heritage could be in the wake of current climate and environmental challenges if approached differently. It explores how a selection of feminist posthumanisms challenge the distinction between nature:culture in a way that could shift the approach to sustainability in heritage making from a negative to an affirmative framing.

  • 2013. Christina Fredengren. Current Swedish Archaeology 21, 53-71

    This paper will discuss the tensions between the humanities and sciences within archaeology and examine how these tensions exist, both in how identity and personhood are understood, and in different views of epistemology and ontology. From a basis in critical posthumanism it is argued that unnecessary boundaries have been set up between the body and the environment. The concept of the transcorporeal allows for rethinking the connection between bodies and landscape, enabling us to discuss the environment inside. This approach can provide an alternative framing for the use of the sciences in archaeology, particularly for osteology and DNA and isotope analysis. Biomolecular mapping of body networks allows for a better understanding of the configuration of specific historic bodies as well as for discussing ethics. Furthermore, there may be a case for describing analysed bodies as figurations, rather than as identities.

Show all publications by Christina Fredengren at Stockholm University

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Last updated: January 22, 2020

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