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.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What archaeologists look like

This is fieldwork at Port Tobacco, Maryland, with three of my most dedicated volunteers. It feels wrong to call them volunteers when these ladies are quite knowledgeable and capable archaeologists in their own right. Carol, in the red, recently published a peer reviewed article on Port Tobacco. 

Most of my archaeological research takes place "in the lab" as I am more interested in data than in finding pretty things. Here I am working at the State Museum of Pennsylvania while on a Scholar in Residence Fellowship.

There are not many photos of me excavating because I am usually the site photographer. When I was in this rather deep unit someone stole my camera.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Opportunities at the SAA

For those attending the SAA 77th Annual Meeting in Memphis, there are a few events on the schedule that you should think about attending:

The Committee on the Status of Women in Archaeology (COSWA) will be meeting on Thursday, April 19th at 4:00 - 6:00pm in Heritage Room I-II.

The Women's Networking Reception will be held at 5:30 - 7:00 pm on Thursday, April 19th in Heritage Room IV.

The business meeting of the Women in Archaeology Interest Group is also Thursday night from 7:00 - 7:30pm in Heritage Room IV.

A symposium, REFLECTING ON THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN ARCHAEOLOGY, sponsored by COSWA will be held on Thursday morning from 9:15 to Noon in room L-3.
9:15 Linda Stine—A cultural negotiation: gender, class, preservation law and opportunity
9:30 Janet Brashler—Working at Archaeology in Government, Academia and CRM: A Cross Cultural Perspective on Gender in the Archaeology Work Place
9:45 Jackie Lillis—One Discipline, Two Degrees, and Two Careers: Lessons Learned Over 15 Years by a Female Indiana Jones
10:00 Dorothy Lippert—The Work of Beloved Women: How female archaeologists restore the world through repatriation
10:15 Marcia Bezerra, Caroline Fernandes Caromano and Leandro Matthews Cascon—‘Modern-day Amazons’: The historical construction of Amazonian archaeology by woman’s hands, eyes and minds
10:30 Maria Bruno, Nicole Couture and Deborah Blom—Challenges and Accomplishments of Multi-disciplinary, Female, Co-Directorship at Mollo Kontu, Tiwanaku, Bolivia
10:45 Cherrie De Leiuen—Where is gender in archaeology?
11:00 Katie Kirakosian—Discussant
11:15 Astrid D'Eredita—Donna e archeologa: an Italian perspective
11:30 Silvia Tomaskova—Discussant
11:45 Ruthann Knudson—Discussant

If there is anything else that I've missed, (and I am sure that there are) please add them in the comments section.

See you in Memphis!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What would a feminine archaeology look like?

As a new female archaeologist working within the academy, I am concerned with the possible barriers I may face in my career or the roles I might be placed in because of my gender (in my current department, much of the administrative burden falls on my female colleagues). For many years, it never occurred to me that I might face discrimination, often invisibly embedded in structures of policy and power, that would influence my ability to be a successful, productive researcher and teacher. However, as I have moved through my career, I have recognized, with increasing concern, the elements of myself I am forced to mute or transform in order to 'fit in' to expected roles as an archaeologist and academic (an identity still all too often associated with men). I admit to being concerned about when I decide to start a family, which will add an inevitable layer to the various ways the academy and other institutions fail to support women's choices.

At the same time, I acknowledge that the challenges faced by women academic archaeologists have, in many ways, transformed archaeology over the past 20 years. The doors are more open than they have ever been, thanks to the pioneering work of so many. Many of the fundamental issues that face women in archaeology and in the academy, however, remain the same but are more insidious, cloaked in a veneer of political correctness or the "just joking" mentality.

One of the areas of greatest concern for me is governance and how the institutional structures enforce masculine values at the expense of alternate voices, whether feminine, queer, or indigenous, to name a few. Whether we are academics working within university structures, consulting archaeologists working within state and federal structures, or somewhere in between, many of the hierarchical structures of government are firmly embedded in patriarchal values and modes of decision making. Issues around governmental structure in the US around women has recently been brought to the fore with ongoing debates about the rights of women to their own bodies and health care. There has been discussion in recent forums about the need for women to be in leadership roles in archaeology, but if those leadership roles remain in a masculine frame of reference, the issues of governance will change much more slowly than if we can define and implement a feminine model of archaeology to work alongside and transform structures already in place

With this in mind, I ask the question: what would a feminine archaeology look like? How would it be different from the practice of archaeology today in the classroom? In the field? In publications? In CRM? I invite you to engage in this conversation in the comments and at the upcoming SAA meetings.