“With broad appeal and a wide geographic and chronological scope of case studies, Life at the Margins of the State expertly illustrates the range of mutual influences between ancient states and surrounding communities.”
—Ian Lindsay, Purdue University
“A compelling examination of societies that are often deemed marginal. Full of new perspectives, this book maintains the agency and initiative of 'peripheral' groups beyond just their relationship to the core.”
—Lewis Borck, New Mexico Highlands University
Life at the Margins of the State examines the sociopolitical and cultural nuances, negotiations, and strategies of resistance developed by marginal communities—including frontiers, borderlands, borders, and other locations where there was a substantive difference in scale from more hegemonic political entities. The volume explores not just the nature of interactions in the political margins but the political, social, and economic trajectories of the societies that formed there.
Case studies from the New and Old Worlds—including historic California, medieval Iceland, ancient Mesoamerica, ancient Nubia, colonial El Salvador, the prehistoric Levant, pre-Columbian Amazon, Africa’s historic central Sahel, and ancient Peru—offer novel perspectives on how borderland societies adapted to the unique human and natural environments of these liminal spaces. Contributors draw on archaeological evidence as well as historical documents and linguistic data to facilitate the documentation of local histories and the strategies employed by communities living in or near ancient states and empires.
This close study of groups on the margins shows that peripheral polities are not simply the by-products of complexity emanating from a political core and demonstrates that traditional assumptions and models need to be reconsidered.
Contributors: Tara D. Carter, Mikael Fauvelle, Elena A.A. Garcea, Esteban Gomez, Scott MacEachern, Claire Novotny, Bradley J Parker, Erin Smith, John H. Walker