Engendered Archaeologies: Intersubjectivity in Archaeological Heritage Practice and Interpretation

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Heritage work, including archaeology and related disciplines, has been recognized as an intersubjective endeavor but theoretical examinations largely sidestep gender as a framework for analysis. However, critical approaches to participatory models of heritage practice necessitate a theoretical and action-oriented engagement with gender. This session aims to bring together two currently disparate contributions to archaeology— stakeholder-focused archaeological heritage work and an analysis of gender in the archaeological record. We hope to examine the complex entanglements that arise when working with stakeholders and interpreting and representing archaeological remains. Explorations may include feminist, queer, postcolonial, indigenous and other theoretical frameworks as well as considerations of aspects of selfhood including race, class, religion, age, etc. These may also draw on methodologies like community-based, collaborative, activist, participatory, ethical, action-oriented and public approaches. How are collaborative archaeology projects and heritage work more broadly engendered? How do participants in archaeological and heritage projects perform and enact gender? How do discourses of masculinity, femininity, and queer identities influence all phases of research: from conception through public engagement, fieldwork, analysis, presentation, publication, and preservation? At the heart of these questions lies an exploration of practice, power, memory, and narrative production that will enhance efforts at preserving and understanding heritage.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • A Chained Melody: Queering Ceramic Industries in 19th century South Carolina (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shawn Fields. Jamie Arjona.

    During the antebellum period, ceramic industries began to sprout up across South Carolina’s agricultural landscape. In the Edgefield district, located near the South Carolina-Georgia border, a number of family-owned kilns contracted enslaved laborers from nearby plantations to mass-produce stoneware for sale throughout the Southeast. Innovative alkaline glaze technologies became the foundation for experimental ceramic traditions and styles. A long-held local fascination with these ceramic...

  • Cyberfeminism, Virtual Worlds, and Resisting the Feminization of Digital Archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Edward Gonzalez-Tennant.

    In feminist technoscience, feminist technologies are those which are good for the oppressed. Cyberfeminists view online worlds as one such technology; although many question how they can support social transformation. The answer to this dilemma for many cyberfeminists requires that we resist embedding new technologies with entrenched hierarchies of power. After a brief review of how hierarchical thinking is embedded in some familiar technologies, I examine the possibilities virtual technologies...

  • Discourses of the Haunted: Community-Based Archaeology at the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Surface-Evans.

    Haunting is a way to conceptualize and recognize traumatic events of the past. In some cases, past trauma becomes so well hidden that it produces specters whose origin and source may not be readily identified or acknowledged, yet still have the power to do harm. This metaphor of haunting is especially apt when considering the United States Federal Indian Boarding School era. The cultural genocide attempted by Federal Indian boarding schools is still felt in American Indian communities as...

  • The duality of female archetypes in facilitating fieldwork: case studies in Arizona and Jordan (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Lewis.

    Polarizing female stereotypes are nothing new: Madonna/whore, “career woman”/ “stay at home mum,” “girly/tomboy”, and others Though modern feminist movements have opened many doors to removing the limitations applied to these stereotypes, women may still find themselves assuming these roles in order to appear more familiar, less threatening, and more trustworthy in order to facilitate their field work. My research in both Arizona and Jordan requires that I assume different female roles: demure...

  • Finding and ‘heritaging’ women in the landlord villages of Iran (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ruth Young.

    The landlord villages of Iran were owned by a powerful, usually absentee landlord, who had near-total control over the political, economic and social lives of all those living within them. A range of sources describe the male occupants of the villages, and when reading historical and anthropological studies of landlord villages, it would be easy to think they were occupied by an amorphous mass of (male) peasants living in extreme poverty, who were subject entirely to the will of the (male)...

  • Gender, Masculinity, and Professional-Avocational Heritage Collaborations (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Siobhan Hart.

    Relationships among professional and avocational archaeologists have changed in the last few decades with the increase in collaborative heritage projects worldwide. Professionals and avocationals often work side-by-side on archaeological sites, collaborate on research, and engage in mutual knowledge sharing. However, little attention has been paid to the gendered dimensions of these relationships. Feminist critiques of research and practices within professional archaeology, along with...

  • Gendered Heritage: Interspaces and Intersubjectivity (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Campbell.

    Ideally, the intersubjectivity of heritage work creates space for the interaction of multiple gendered viewpoints maintaining a collective tension where heritage work flourishes in consideration of multiple lens, multiple meanings, and multiple gendered interpretations. The reality; however, is much further from the rhetoric. In medieval South Asia gender performance was a habituated component of the collective and individual social project. It remains so today. In this paper I work to consider...

  • Historical Illustration as Narrative: A Critical Inquiry (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Theresa Schober.

    The integration of research-driven results with visual media is an integral component of effective museum exhibitions, general interest publications and public programs in archaeology. Annual archaeology month activities, for example, often result in the design of posters to attract audiences and illustrate attributes of indigenous cultures. To what degree does this popular form of visual communication reflect contemporary theoretical perspectives on gender and identity rather than reinforce...

  • "I don’t know all of these stories": Method and Intention in Community-Oriented Research and Heritage Projects (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Teresa Raczek.

    Scholars who conduct engaged and collaborative research and heritage projects often warn against treating participants as homogeneous communities who speak with a unified voice. Gender provides a useful lens to combat this tendency and to create a reflexive, action-oriented archaeology. This paper will discuss the role of gender, intersectionality, and intersubjectivity in method and intention in archaeological practices. Current projects in Georgia, USA and Rajasthan, India will be used to...

  • Intersubjectivity and a Theory of Actively Engaged Heritage Practice (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tiffany Cain.

    Engaged heritage practice locates its core around the reflexivity of its practitioners and the dialogic nature of its projects. Indeed, the relevance of heritage work is arguably inextricable from its capacity to recognize the needs and interests of both researchers and community members, however defined. Those needs and interests can be better addressed if we look more critically at the subjectivities of participants and non-participants in our projects, ourselves included. This paper proposes...

  • Learning to Listen: Quinhagak Voices Teaching about Gender (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anna Sloan.

    This presentation describes how archaeologists are using the knowledge of community stakeholders from the Yup'ik village of Quinhagak, Alaska to analyze gender dynamics at Nunalleq (GDN-248), a pre-contact village site located on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. During the summer of 2015, Quinhagak residents were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews about gender roles and activities in Yup'ik society and about the relevance of gender to stakeholder questions about the past. Interview...

  • Legacies of Ethiopian Women: Revealing Heritage through an indigenous animistic ontology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kathryn Arthur.

    This paper will focus on the importance of including women’s legacies and narratives in the heritage of southern Ethiopia. In particular, women’s memories reveal the significance of life rituals associated with birth, marriage, and leadership, which served as reminders for illuminating their indigenous ontology Detsa concerning animism, fertility, and prestige. Traces of their life experiences and thoughts are tangible as visible markers on the landscape at Biare Dere, first settlements....

  • Male-Female Sexuality in the "Fruit Bearing" Maya New Year Celebrations: Understanding the Past and Present Heritage through Participatory and Archaeological Studies (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eleanor Harrison-Buck. Astrid Runggaldier. Alex Gantos.

    Among contemporary Tz’utujil Maya, the Mam are the “Year Bearers” of an ancient 260-day ritual calendar still used today in highland Guatemala, celebrated annually when the seasons change from dry to wet. This spring celebration corresponds with Semana Santa (Holy Week) and is when the maize is planted and cacao and other fruits are harvested. Preceding Easter, young male initiates travel on foot down from the highlands to the cacao groves that have existed in the coastal lowlands since ancient...

  • Trigger Material Culture of the Greco-Roman World (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Patricia Kim.

    A recent opinion editorial published in the Columbia Spectator by three undergraduates protested the university’s core curriculum as consisting of “triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities in the classroom.” The article was written in response to the assignment of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” which contains scenes of rape and sexual assault. The art historical and archaeological record of the Greco-Roman world similarly includes visual and material evidence that we would...