Staying True to Our Roots… in Public: Critical Public Archaeology As Working Class Activism

Author(s): V. Camille Westmont

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Communicating Working Class Heritage in the 21st Century: Values, Lessons, Methods, and Meanings" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

American working class and labor history is a history of resistance and discontent, with many of the most recognizable names – Cesar Chavez, Mother Jones, Joe Hill – having achieved notoriety specifically because they refused to follow the status quo. As archaeologists tasked with communicating working class histories, we have the opportunity to bring that same level of resistance to authorized or official versions of the past in our own work. In this paper, I explore the possibilities of a critical public archaeology in my work with migration and working class communities. Drawing on my research in Northeastern Pennsylvania and a comparative project in Western Sweden, I will discuss the application of a critical public archaeology that confronts, challenges, and attempts to address the political messages embedded within heritage today by using the past as a source of inspiration for unity, remorse, and a promise to do better. 

Cite this Record

Staying True to Our Roots… in Public: Critical Public Archaeology As Working Class Activism. V. Camille Westmont. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 448968)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 165