Thanks to the wonders of social media, I recently encountered two things in the web-sphere that caught my attention and gave me an idea for this blog. First, was this story about the importance of role models in encouraging girls to pursue careers in the so-called STEM disciplines. Second, was this tumbler called This is What a Scientist Looks Like.
Both of these websites epitomize the one of the core issues discussed at the roundtable that initiated this blog: How can we encourage more young women into the discipline when female role models in archaeology are completely absent in popular media and even scarce in scholarly publications and textbooks?
If we ever hope to change the perception of who and what an Archaeologist is or isn't (to paraphrase the Scientist Tumbler), then we must share images that combat stereotypes and demonstrate the diversity of this discipline. Let's begin here by sharing photos of yourself or your colleagues and students.
Most of my field photos are on slide film, but here are a few photographs that I had as digital images. Sadly, I have virtually no photos of myself in the field (because I am usually the one taking pictures).
Here is one of me operating a backhoe for deep-testing during a CRM project in a floodplain of the Wabash valley, Indiana, 2000.
In this photograph, I am hosting an informational table for Indiana Archaeology Month at Pokagon State Park, 2004.
This photograph of me demonstrating an atlatl was snapped by a reporter from a small town newspaper when I revisited a site I worked on when I was an undergraduate to lecture about Paleoindians and Pleistocene Indiana to a large group of school children in 2010.
Here are some photographs of my amazing female colleagues and students.
Leslie, Tammy, and Emily (from left to right), cleaning off a feature at a Late Archaic site, Clark County, Indiana, 1999.
Kim, taking field notes at a CRM project, Clark County, Indiana, 2000
Krysta and Kaitlin excavating an accidental discovery of a skeleton in the hardpan of Pinny Beach, Nevis, West Indies, 2003
Mariah, excavating a Late Prehistoric stockade wall in central Indiana, 2004
Laura and Jessica, excavating a shovel test for Field Methods, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, 2011
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.