Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College

Associated faculty, Department of Classics; affiliate, Program on the Ancient Mediterranean World

PhD, UC Berkeley, 1990

On leave Winter-Spring 2023

Michael Dietler has conducted archaeological, ethnographic, and historical research projects in Europe and Africa. In addition to his work on alcohol, food, and feasting, a major theoretical focus has been colonialism, and he has been engaged for over 30 years in archaeological research in Mediterranean France on the indigenous “Celtic” societies of the region and their colonial encounters with Etruscans, Greeks and Romans during the first millennium BC, including long-term excavations at the port settlement of Lattes in Languedoc. His 2010 book, Archaeologies of Colonialism, provides the most recent synthesis of this material, approaching the process of colonial entanglement through analysis of consumption practices, urban landscapes, and violence. He is also engaged in research exploring the role of the ancient past in contemporary Celtic identities and imaginaries, in both modern ethno-nationalist and postmodern transnational contexts, and he is currently finishing a book on this subject entitled Celticism, Celtitude, and Celticity: Contemporary Ways of Being and Becoming Celtic. A third project is ethnographic research among the Luo people of Kenya, in collaboration with Ingrid Herbich, directed toward the socio-historical understanding of material culture, spatio-temporal concepts, and economics.

He also teaches courses on the Chicago Blues and has further ethnomusicological interests in Celtic and African popular musics. He was also director of the Migration, Material Culture, and Memory Program, a collaborative three-year project of joint research and graduate training between the University of Chicago and the University of Paris X - Nanterre financed by a grant from the Partner University Fund and the French American Cultural Exchange. 

For access to PDF copies of publications and a Curriculum Vitae, see Michael Dietler's Personal Website and pages.

Contact Information

Office: Haskell 131
Phone: (773) 702-7150


Selected Publications

Six provocations in search of a pretext. In The Connected Iron Age: Interregional Networks in the Eastern Mediterranean, 900-600 BCE, edited by Jonathan Hall and James Osborne, pp. 233-252. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Alcohol as embodied material culture: anthropological reflections on the deep entanglement of humans and alcohol. In Alcohol and Humans: A Long and Social Affair, edited by Robin Dunbar and Kimberley Hockings, pp. 299-319. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The Emporion in the Ancient Western Mediterranean: Trade and Colonial Encounters from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Period, edited with Eric Gailledrat and Rosa Plana-Mallart. Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée (Monde Ancien series).

Book cover of "The Emporion in the Ancient Western Mediterranean"

Alkohol als verkörperte materielle Kultur: Vergleichende kulturanthropologische Überlegungen zum Konsum von Alkohol. In Was tranken die frühen Kelten? Bedeutungen und Fonktionen mediterraner Importe im früheisenzeitlichen Mitteleuropa, edited by Philipp Stockhammer and Janine Fries-Knoblach. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Alcohol as liquid material culture: feasting in comparative perspective. In Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings, exhibit catalogue edited by Susanne Ebbinghaus, pp. 25-31. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Anthropological Reflections on the Koine Concept: Linguistic Analogies and Material Worlds. In Material Koinai in the Greek Early Iron Age and Archaic Period, edited by Søren Handberg and Anastasia Gadolou, pp. 17-39. Aarhus: Danish Institute at Athens, Monograph Series, vol. 22.

Rencontres culinaires: Colonialisme et la culture matérielle incarnée. In Contacts et acculturations en Méditerranée occidentale. Hommages à Michel Bats, Actes du colloque de Hyères, edited by Réjane Roure, pp. 153-159.

Feasting and Fasting. In The Oxford Handbook on the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion, edited by Tim Ingersoll, pp. 179-194. Oxford University Press.

Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France. Berkeley: University of California Press. (Winner of the Archaeological Institute of America's James R. Wiseman Book Award, 2012).

Book cover of "Archaeologies of Colonialism"

Cocina y colonialismo. Encuentros culinarios en la Francia mediterránea protohistórica. In De la Cuina a la Taula: IV Reunió d’Economia en el Primer Milenio, edited by C. Mata Pareño, G. Pérez Jordà, and J. Vives-Ferrándiz Sánchez, pp. 11-26. Universitat de Valencia, Saguntum.

Consumption. In The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, edited by D. Hicks and M. Beaudry, pp. 207-226. Oxford University Press.

Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia: Phoenician, Greek, and Indigenous Relations, edited with Carolina López-Ruiz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Book cover of "Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia"

Domestic Space, Social Life, and Settlement Biography: Theoretical Reflections from the Ethnography of a Rural African Landscape (with Ingrid Herbich). In L’espai domestic i l’organizacio de la societat a la protohistoria de la Mediterrania occidental (Ier milleni aC), Actes de la IV Reunio Internacional d’Arqueologia de Calafell, edited by Carme Belarte, pp. 11-23. Barcelona: Arqueo Mediterrania, 10.

France et États-Unis: comparaison des institutions archéologiques (with Ingrid Herbich). In Constructions de l’archéologie, edited by Anick Coudart, pp. 111-116. Archéopages, numéro hors série.

Les maisons à cour des IIIe-IIe s. av. n. è. à Lattes: émergence d’une différentiation dans l’habitat indigene (with Alison Kohn, Andreu Moya i Garra, and André Rivalan). Gallia, 65: 111-122.

‘The Long Arm of the Mother-in-Law’: Post-Marital Resocialization, Cultural Transmission, and Material Style (with Ingrid. Herbich). In Breaking Down Boundaries: Anthropological Approaches to Cultural Transmission and Material Culture, edited by B. Bowser, A. Horne and M. Stark, pp. 23-244. Tucson: U. Arizona Press

The Iron Age in the Western Mediterranean. In The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World, edited by Walter Scheidel, Ian Morris & Richard Saller, pp. 242-276. Cambridge Univ. Press.

Culinary Encounters: Food, Identity, and Colonialism. In The Archaeology of Food and Identity, edited by Kathryn Twiss, pp. 218-242. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Alcohol: Anthropological/Archaeological Perspectives. Annual Review of Anthropology, 35: 229-249

Celticism, Celtitude, and Celticity: The Consumption of the Past in the Age of Globalization. In Celtes et Gaulois dans l’histoire, l’historiographie et l’idéologie moderne, edited by S. Rieckhoff. Actes de la table ronde de Leipzig, 16-17 juin 2005, pp. 237-248. Glux-en-Glenne: Bibracte, Centre Archéologique Européen (Bibracte 12/1).

Feasting und kommensale Politik in der Eisenzeit Europas. Theoretische Reflexionen und empirische Fallstudien. Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift, 47(4):541-568.

Liquid Material Culture: Following the Flow of Beer Among the Luo of Kenya (with Ingrid Herbich). In Grundlegungen. Beiträge zur europäischen und afrikanischen Archäologie für Manfred K.H. Eggert, edited by Hans-Peter Wotzka, pp. 395-408. Tübingen: Francke Verlag.

The Archaeology of Colonization and the Colonization of Archaeology: Theoretical Challenges from an Ancient Mediterranean Colonial Encounter. In The Archaeology of Colonial Encounters: Comparative Perspectives, edited by G. Stein, pp. 33-68. Santa Fe: SAR Press.

Consumption and Colonial Encounters in the Rhône Basin of France: A Study of Early Iron Age Political Economy. CNRS, Monographies d’Archéologie Meditérranéenne 21.

Book cover of "Consumption and Colonial Encounters in the Rhône Basin of France"

La société lattoise à l’aube de la conquête romaine: Réflexions sur le colonialisme et la vie quotidienne dans une ville portuaire indigène. In Lattara 17. Le quartier 30-35 de la ville de Lattara (fin IIIe – Ier siècles av. n. è.): Regards sur la vie urbaine à la fin de la Protohistoire, edited by Michel Py, pp. 403-412. Lattes: ARALO.

The warrior of Lattes: An Iron Age statue discovered in Mediterranean France (with Michel Py). Antiquity, 77: 870-795.

L’Archéologie du colonialisme: consommation, emmêlement culturel, et rencontres coloniales en Méditerranée. In Regards croisés sur le métissage, edited by Laurier Turgeon, pp. 135-184 Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval.

American archaeology at the Millennium: a user’s guide. Revista d’Arqueologia de Ponent, 11:7-20.

Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power, edited with Brian Hayden. Washington, DC: Smithsonian. (Reprinted by the University of Alabama Press 2010).

Book cover of "Feasts"

Rituals of commensality and the politics of state formation in the “princely” societies of Early Iron Age Europe. In Les princes de la Protohistoire et l‘émergence de l‘état, edited by Pascal Ruby, pp. 135-152. Naples: Collection de l‘École Française de Rome 252

Reflections on Lattois Society During the 4th Century BC. In Lattara 12: Recherches sur le quatrième siècle avant notre ère à Lattes, edited by Michel Py, pp. 663-680. ARALO.

Consumption, agency, and cultural entanglement: theoretical implications of a Mediterranean colonial encounter. In Studies in Culture Contact: Interaction, Culture Change and Archaeology, edited by James Cusick, pp. 288-315. Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press.

Habitus, techniques, style: An integrated approach to the social understanding of material culture and boundaries (with Ingrid Herbich). In The Archaeology of Social Boundaries, edited by M. Stark, pp. 232-263. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press.

A tale of three sites: the monumentalization of Celtic oppida and the politics of collective memory and identity. World Archaeology, 30: 72-89

The Iron Age in Mediterranean France: colonial encounters, entanglements, and transformations. Journal of World Prehistory, 11: 269-358

Feasts and Commensal Politics in the Political Economy: Food, Power, and Status in Prehistoric Europe. In Food and the Status Quest: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, edited by P. Wiessner and W. Schiefenhövel, pp. 87-125. Oxford: Berghahn.

“Our ancestors the Gauls”: archaeology, ethnic nationalism, and the manipulation of Celtic identity in modern Europe. American Anthropologist, 96: 584-605.

Habitus et reproduction sociale des techniques: l’intelligence du style en archéologie et en ethnoarchéologie (with Ingrid Herbich). In De la préhistoire aux missiles balistiques: l’intelligence sociale des techniques, edited by Bruno Latour and Pierre Lemonnier, pp. 202-227. Paris: La Découverte.

Living on Luo time: reckoning sequence, duration, history, and biography in a rural African Society (with Ingrid Herbich). World Archaeology, 25: 248-260.

Driven by drink: the role of drinking in the political economy and the case of Early Iron Age France. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 9: 352-406.