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Life at the Margins of the State

Comparative Landscapes from the Old and New Worlds

edited by Alicia M. Boswell and Kyle A. Knabb

Hardcover Price $67.00
Ebook Price $53.00
30-day ebook rental price $26.50

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“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 Contributors draw on archaeological evidence as well as historical documents and linguistic data to facilitate the documentation of local histories and the strategies employed by communities living in or near ancient states and empires.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

Alicia M. Boswell is assistant professor in the History of Art and Architecture Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she has been named an Early Career Hellman Fellow. She was an Andrew W. Mellon “Cultures of Conservation” Postdoctoral Fellow at Bard Graduate Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, and her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.

Kyle A. Knabb is a senior archaeologist at PaleoWest, LLC. He was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society / Waitt Foundation. 

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  • Hardcover Price: $67.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-64642-294-4
  • Ebook Price: $53.00
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $26.50
  • EISBN: 978-1-64642-295-1
  • Publication Month: September
  • Publication Year: 2022
  • Pages: 266
  • Illustrations: 40
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Alicia M. Boswell and Kyle A. Knabb
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-64642-294-4
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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