Sad news in the world of archaeology with the untimely passing of Elizabeth Brumfiel. Elizabeth tackled issues of economic inequality, class, and gender in the Aztec Empire. She sought to engender the past and deal with issues of broad social significance. Her work on social inequality and imperial domination was controversial enough for David Horowitz lists her as one of America’s 100 Most Dangerous Professors.
While I did not know her personally, Elizabeth Brumfiel has greatly inspired my research. Her research has made significant contributions in archaeology, particularly gender studies. By all accounts, Liz was a great mentor and loved to teach. She will be missed, but will certainly not be forgotten.
In Memoriam: Elizabeth Brumfiel
Liz Brumfiel Will Always Be Remembered
Despite the growth and success of feminist archaeology, women in archaeology still face issues not necessarily encountered by their male counterparts in the 21st Century. Legacies of past discrimination, particularly the perceived and/or actual demands of family life, have resulted in disproportionate fewer women working at research institutions in many disciplines, including archaeology. This disturbing trend has profound implications for not only the direction of current archaeological research, but also the training of future scholars.
This blog is a forum for advocating for women archaeologists so that we can move beyond legacies of inequity to a future that strengthens a feminine voice in archaeology and a feminist perspective. We contend that the very practice of archaeology is skewed towards a masculine and hierarchical perspective that excludes consensus building and “minority opinions” when interpreting the past. We argue that the feminine voice brings unique and necessary elements to the discipline of archaeology, through values such as mentoring and collaboration. We also clarify that a feminist perspective is not limited to any one gender, class, race, ethnicity or sexuality. Rather a feminist perspective is a radical point of view; one that recognizes that women’s success professionally and personally is integrally tied to larger socio-political movements dedicated to the eradication of homophobia, racism, and androcentrism.
Our hope is to solicit advice, perspectives, and experiences from all realms of the archaeological profession- including tenure-track and adjunct faculty, CRM professionals, and those not currently employed or underemployed. The ultimate goal of the blog is to shift the realities of power experienced in the daily lives of women archaeologists by discussing, inventing and offering solutions to the challenges of professional life.