Want to Learn How to Advocate for the Preservation of Historical Archaeological Sites in the Era of Trump? Be Sure to Participate in the Following Interactive Session at the 2018 Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting, New Orleans:
If You Are Not At the Table You Are On The Menu:
How to Be an Advocate for Historical Archaeology in Today’s Political Environment.
Facilitated by Marion Werkheiser, J.D. and Terry H. Klein, M.A., RPA.
Thursday, January 4th, 8:00-10:00 AM, Studio 7
(check final program to confirm session location and time)
Given today’s political environment, we must all be advocates for historical archaeology. If we are not fully engaged in the political process, then we must live with the consequences resulting from our inaction. In this working session, you will learn the ins and outs of being an advocate for historical archaeology. After a review of the current threats to government-supported and mandated historical archaeology in the United States, we will break into small groups to discuss:
· How and where should you meet your Congressional and state representatives, and federal and state agencies?
· How do you convey the value of historical archaeology in a way they will understand and appreciate?
· How can you partner with others to promote the value of historical archaeology to government decision-makers?
Each group will be facilitated by an expert in archaeological advocacy. You will also receive a package of materials that will help you in your future advocacy efforts.
In 2017, the Exploring Joara Foundation (EJF) began the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the meeting between the Spanish Juan Pardo expeditionary force and the local native people. It is also the 450th anniversary of the founding of Fort San Juan at Joara. The crowning jewel of an ambitious schedule of events was a large community festival. We are, however, a very small public archaeology foundation with a staff of two. While the August 5th event was successful and very well received by the regional community and our Native American tribal participants, there was a steep learning curve. For this post, I would like to offer some tips and considerations for those who may be planning a 1000+ participant event for the first time.
Stick to a Theme
Whether your event is a singular occurrence (as ours was) or part of new annual initiative, it’s difficult to cover all aspects of the archaeological heritage you’re highlighting well. Apply your undergrad term paper writing skills to laser focus your message to streamline event planning and support your organization’s mission. Inviting all the vendors and the reenactors and the skills experts might build your organization’s partnership list. However, together they may offer a muddled message that will confuse an audience unused to an archaeology festival in the first place. These early planning processes will ensure all the time and resources spent on the event will produce the maximum amount of benefit for you, your partners, and the community.
For example, while we did share the Berry Site story and excavations, we chose to commemorate the events of 1567 by providing a platform for modern descendant tribal communities to share their stories and experiences. The goal was to further EJF’s public outreach mission. In addition to artifacts and archaeology-themed children’s activities, the event included a reenactment of Juan Pardo meeting the chiefs of Joara (executed by Mark Menendez, the Men of Menéndez, the Jager Companie von Roeder reenactors, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee’s Warriors of AnniKituhwa), and performances by a North Carolina intertribal dance troupe.
Most of the event’s vendors were from North and South Carolina tribal communities. Altogether, we had representatives from six of North Carolina’s eight state recognized tribes (Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan). We also invited our long time partners from the Catawba Nation of South Carolina. The Catawba historically inhabited the Catawba River valley of North Carolina and are a descendant community of the Mississippian Joarans. Visitors raved about the traditional crafts, the informative interactions, and the historical and modern powwow-style dancing. We presented a tangible, accessible path between the data and living cultures.
Consideration of Committees and Community Partners
Planning should not rest on the shoulders of one or two people. Other archaeologists, historians, state, and education folk are brilliant contributors but they are not necessarily local logistics experts. Balance is key for large-scope events. In a just-shy-of-too-late stroke of genius, we reached out to the City of Morganton Main Street Department. Their experienced festival and event staff connected us to food vendors, free access to city tents, tables, and chairs, and a borrowed sound system. This help saved us time and a great deal of money. Our work has complimented the city’s and county’s own marketing efforts in the past and they were eager to help with this new style of event. The local county tourism office also awarded us a marketing grant. Even the mayor called to ask if he could open the event. Don’t overlook the resources and enthusiastic staff of your local governments.
Timing is Everything
Be sure and give yourself plenty of time to allow all these wonderful partnership and committees to function properly. Close to 2,000 people came out to our event, but there could have been more. Event planning and performer outreach took longer than expected, which delayed marketing efforts. If our committees were better employed, then the multitasking would have been more efficient. Do yourself a favor and start actively working on your event at least a year before. While there will always be stress in the weeks leading up to a large event, it won’t be a “will it/won’t it happen at all” sort of stress if staffing and scheduling are effective.
Large scale events can be a very powerful method of sharing archaeology with the public. However, as many archaeologists are not event planners, the prospect of a festival may be intimidating. Relying on a wide variety of archaeological and non-archaeological partners and providing plenty of planning time helps. Planners should also take special consideration of the message. Make sure it rings clear even to those in the community simply looking forward to a new opportunity to get funnel cake. A successful event, like our 450th Fest, will bring more attention to and participation in your regular efforts and strengthen bonds with familiar and new community partners, making the whole process worthwhile.
Have you planned a very large public outreach event before? What did I miss? What other helpful suggestions do you have for event logistics, marketing, or message?
Melissa A Timo, EJF Staff Archaeologist
2017 Celebrating the 450th Anniversary of Joara. News-Herald 5 August. Morganton, NC. <http://www.morganton.com/gallery/celebrating-the-th-anniversary-of-joara/collection_641540b0-7a32-11e7-a293-3f92fdb9950e.html>. Accessed 6 October 2017.
During the summer of 2007, detailed mapping and archaeological excavations were conducted at the Mardi Gras Shipwreck, the remains of an unidentified, wooden-hulled sailing vessel. Located in 4,000 feet of water 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project was considered at that time to be the deepest archaeological excavation ever conducted. The shipwreck itself is an amazing site with an artifact assemblage dating to the first decades of the 19th century. In the latest thematic issue of Historical Archaeology, the story of this project from its genesis as a Federal regulatory enforcement action to the reinterpretation of the data is provided. SHA members can access these articles online here: https://sha.org/secure/historical-archaeology/
Introductory articles describe the site’s discovery, and the field methods, tools, and technology needed for excavation in deep water, and provide an overview of the Gulf of Mexico’s unique and fascinating history at the time the ship slipped beneath the waves. Subsequent articles describe the material culture identified at this site including ceramics and bottles, a ship’s stove, firearms and cannon, navigational equipment, and the techniques employed to conserve recovered artifacts. Other articles describe the public outreach and documentary film production that took place in support of the project. Finally, the concluding article examines additional artifacts and site formation processes, and provides a new interpretation of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck. The paper titles include:
Introduction: The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project: The Story of an Early Nineteenth-Century Wooden-Hulled Sailing Ship
Christopher E. Horrell, Amy A. Borgens Pages 323–328
The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project: Overview of Methods and Tools
Jack B. Irion Pages 329–336
Mercantilism, Warfare, or Privateering? Providing the Historical Context for the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Site
Melanie Damour Pages 337–350
Land, Ho! Maritime Navigation through the Early Nineteenth Century as Represented by the Mardi Gras Shipwreck
Dave Ball Pages 351–358
Analysis of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Ship’s Stove
Christopher E. Horrell Pages 359–378
The Glass and Ceramic Assemblage of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck
Ben Ford Pages 379–391
Artillery and Arms from the Mardi Gras Shipwreck
Amy A. Borgens Pages 392–409
The Conservation Research Laboratory and Conservation of Artifacts from the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project
Helen Dewolf Pages 410–417
Lights, Camera … Shipwreck!?! Multimedia at Four Thousand Feet
Kimberly L. Faulk, Rick Allen Pages 418–424
Deep Thoughts: A Look at Public Access to Deepwater Sites through the Mardi Gras Shipwreck
Della A. Scott-Ireton Pages 425–432
The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project: A Final Overview with New Perspectives
Christopher E. Horrell, Amy A. Borgens Pages 433–450
Memorial: George Robert Fischer (1937–2016)
Russell K. Skowronek Pages 451–461
M. Jay Stottman
Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Although teachers have sought archaeological information to supplement their curricula for decades, it has only been within the last twenty years that archaeologists have made a concerted effort to introduce their research to educators through archaeology-based content and activities. Much of this work has privileged an archaeological perspective that is largely focused on archaeological research and stewardship. The goal of such a perspective focuses on promoting a better understanding of what archaeologists do, how important that work is, and preserving archaeological resources. The Project Archaeology: Investigating a Shotgun House curriculum, developed by the Kentucky Archaeological Survey and Project Archaeology, considers archaeology and its role in education differently. The goals of this curriculum are based on activist perspectives in archaeology where community needs are given equal weight to those of archaeology. In education, this perspective is less about the specific needs and issues of archaeology and more about how archaeology can be used to help teachers teach. In other words, archaeology is a vehicle for teaching rather than just what is being taught.
Because archaeology is inherently evidence-and inquiry-based, the focus of the Project Archaeology: Investigating a Shotgun House curriculum, as with other Investigating Shelter case studies, is on the process of archaeology, not just the products of research. The process by which archaeologists do their work is a great way to engage students in learning about and applying the skills of inquiry by developing research questions, collecting evidence, and making interpretations. Through this process students learn about the relationship of objects to people in different contexts, which highlights human intelligence, ingenuity, innovation, and agency. They learn about a variety of humanities topics, such as class, race, ethnicity, and community. The lessons and activities in the curriculum are focused on this process and are derived specifically from archaeological research of a shotgun house in the Davis Bottoms neighborhood of Lexington, Kentucky. The people of this marginalized neighborhood are diverse, but they share the class and condition of poverty, from which they had built a tight knit community. The impetus for the archaeological research, a highway project, led to a present day battle for community identity and social justice.
Archaeologist Lori Stahlgren Works with Teachers at a Project Archaeology Workshop (by author, 2009).
The activist perspective used in the development of this curriculum and the real story about the Davis Bottom resident’s plight connects the study of the past with present day issues of civic engagement and social and environmental justice. Not only do students learn about the process of inquiry, but they learn about the history and development of a marginalized community and how they can relate to its people. They also are encouraged to become informed civic decision makers and to seek ways to take action. The role of archaeology from this perspective prioritizes teaching the skills of inquiry, understanding that evidence is important, that the past informs the present, and becoming civically engaged.
So has this perspective abandoned the needs of archaeology? Not necessarily, with the use of archaeology as a vehicle to teach inquiry, students gain an understanding of and a respect for archaeology, which allows for the consideration of archaeological ethics and stewardship. The difference is that our archaeological goals are less overt than more direct stewardship messaging. Through the curriculum teachers and students discover the importance of archaeological research and stewardship for themselves. So what is the role of archaeology in education? Should it be primarily to promote archaeological needs and issues? Should it be to primarily serve students and teachers? Should it be both? These questions create a bit of philosophical tension regarding the goals of archaeology and our control of it. Should we consider educational and archaeological goals equally? Should we always be overt in our preservation messages when using archaeology in education?
To learn more about Project Archaeology and the Investigating Shelter Curriculum visit www.projectarchaeology.org
To learn more about the Davis Bottoms Neighborhood project visit: https://anthropology.as.uky.edu/kas/kas-projects/davis-bottom-project
Henderson, A. Gwynn, M. Jay Stottman, Robin L. Jones, and Linda S. Levstik
2016 Project Archaeology Investigating a Shotgun House: A Curriculum Guide for Grades 3 through 5. Kentucky Archaeological Survey, Lexington and Project Archaeology, Bozeman, MT.
Emily Dale, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
Congratulations! You’ve graduated with your M.A. or Ph.D. and are now entering the world of Academia! I recently did the same thing. I earned my PhD in May 2016 from the University of Nevada, Reno in Anthropology with an emphasis in Historical Archaeology. The week after I graduated, I got an offer for a Lecturer position at Northern Arizona University in the Anthropology Department. After a year in the new position, I can look back and see where transitioning from student to faculty member went more smoothly and where the rough patches almost got the best of me. So, to help you, here’s some advice. We’ll start with the depressing.
First, PTDD (Post-Thesis Depression Disorder) is completely real. Not in a clinical, it’s in the DSM sense of real, but it exists and it gets quite a few of us. I spent the first week or so after handing in my final draft of my dissertation depressed. I should have been relieved! Years of work had finally paid off, and I had compiled everything into 500 pages I was quite proud of. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed or talking to people. I found myself in my advisor’s office crying, but without being able to explain why. A search of the Chronicle of Higher Ed Forums for “depression” led to me a several-page long thread of people expressing the same feelings after successfully submitting or defending their thesis or dissertation or graduating. I wasn’t alone. I talked with friends and colleagues and found others who felt the same. Everyone said similar things—instead of relief, there was a sense of pointlessness. A “what do I do now?” As master’s and doctoral students, we expend so much of our energy on our projects that when we’re done, that sense of purpose disappears. I had a fellowship that year, which prevented me from taking another job. I had no grading, no classes to attend, no lectures to prepare. I was suddenly left with nothing to do. I was lucky in that my PTDD only lasted about a week before my dissertation defense, job applications, packing, moving, summer school, and other obligations lifted me out. For others I’ve talked to, those feelings of depression lasted weeks or even months. But they were perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
Second, there are no tenure-track jobs. Don’t listen to people who assure you that getting a Ph.D. means a secure job is out there waiting for you. The market crash meant fewer older faculty retired, and higher education is increasingly considered as a business transaction, which means universities, colleges, and community colleges are hiring more and more lecturers and adjunct professors. I don’t regret my Ph.D., but I am fully aware of the fact that I will likely never get a tenure-track position, not because I’m not good enough, but simply because those jobs are going the way of the Neanderthal (or Colonoware for you historical archaeologists). So, be flexible. If you want to teach, that’s great! But you may need to take a lecturer position with no possibility for promotion and a 4/4 teaching load. Or a series of adjunct positions at a variety of schools. I was lucky/smart in my graduate career as I was able to teach undergrad classes as a Graduate Assistant and picked up extra classes at a local community college. When I left grad school, I knew I loved teaching and wanted to teach. If you want to do research, that’s great, too! But be adaptive. Figure out what your program does well or doesn’t have and adapt to that. You might not be able to work at your dream site, so find a new one. Basically, know your strengths and weaknesses, build a basic skill set in teaching and archaeology and build off of that. In a world where stable jobs are hard to come by, you have to make yourself indispensable to your university one way or another so you are the one who gets hired back.
Now, for the good. No matter where you get a job, whether it’s near where you went to school or across the country, there are pros and cons to be aware of. I taught locally, as I said, but ended up getting a job in another state, so I’ve experienced both sides.
Let’s say you end up staying close to your university, maybe at the same institution. This comes with the upside of having an established support system of friends, family, and colleagues who know you and you can rely on. You probably already know the student body and their needs and unique quirks, so reusing old classes or creating new ones will be easier. On the flip side, so many of those people you already know will likely remember you as “Emily, the Grad Student.” Transitioning to Dr. So-and-So can be hard. You’re surrounded by former teachers and friends who haven’t yet graduated, but you have a new status, and remembering that comes with a bigger dose of imposter syndrome if you’re surrounded by the same people.
Now, let’s say you move elsewhere. Here, you’ll have to build a brand new support system—make new friends and figure out department dynamics and politics. The student body can be completely different. I went from a larger institution in Nevada to a much smaller one in Arizona, meaning the students in my new classes were more often first generation or struggled in high school. This is not a judgement on either sets of students I taught, but I did have to completely rewrite some of my syllabi and lessons to better help my new students succeed. On the other hand, I came in to NAU as Dr. Emily Dale. No one questioned my new status, so feeling like a real professor was much easier, and I feel like less of a phony as a result.
If I leave you with anything, it’s this: if you are struggling in any way, with PTDD, the job market, faculty responsibilities, life in general, anything, take advantage of the mental health services offered by your institution. Most offer some form of free or discounted therapy or counseling, wellness programs, or other services aimed at keeping their faculty happy, healthy, and sane. You cannot take care of your research, students, or other professional responsibilities if you do not take care of yourself first.
Rebecca S. Graff
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois, USA
In the American academic job market, it seems neoliberally optimistic if not willfully obtuse to suggest to graduate students and early career archaeologists that, if only they adjust some personal practices to become more professional, they will successfully find and retain employment. Structurally speaking, “professionalization” at this individual level will not alter the corporatizing of the academic job market, with up to 70% contingent faculty in a professoriate with deteriorating working conditions. It won’t impact a public sector whose existence is threatened by government agency closures and reviews of existing National Monuments and antiquities legislation. And it can’t resolve the issues surrounding what constitutes academic labor. That being said, there remain legitimate reasons to think seriously about professionalization.
In writing this post I reached out to colleagues in a variety of archaeological careers and stages (grad student, recent grad, postdoc, administrator, untenured T-T professor, etc.) to get their thoughts on professionalization. The pieces of advice that follow, grouped by theme, come from myself and from these women in my network, who generously took some time to think about lessons we learned. A couple of caveats: First, since professionalization can mean a variety of different things, note that many of the suggestions listed below treat professionalization as a social practice and a mindset associated with those practices and interactions. Second, these interactions are very personal and play out among intersecting gender, race, class, and (sub)disciplinary identities within these social institutions. Thus for me as an assistant professor of anthropology at a small liberal arts college, who has worked at larger R1 and R2 universities, including as an archivist in academic libraries, many but not all of the suggestions ring true. Take what you think will help you, and ignore the rest (another good thing to remember when people give you advice!).
Self-Identity/Creation of Public Self
- Own your expertise. Say aloud what you are an expert in (use that word, it’s hard!), until it comes naturally. Imposter syndrome is real!
- Please replace “in my dissertation” with “in my upcoming book, article, whatever” whenever possible (especially job talks!).
- Learn from others, learn to work with others to achieve what you need, and learn to lead in a way that is effective and fulfilling for you.
- Be an “ethnographer” and pay attention to the institutions you are interested in as well as the people who populate them.
- Be observant: when you’re in a room of academics, watch the dynamics.
- Consider how you might comport yourself professionally. I recall attending meetings as a grad student where others were clearly not paying attention—cleaning their wallets out, checking their phones, etc. People notice these actions and may negatively perceive them.
- Remember to review and/or “curate” your presence on social media. Everyone checks this.
- Sit on a difficult email for a bit before sending a response, and remember that all email is potentially public—you never know who else might read it.
- In the classroom, it’s ok to insist on “Professor” or “Doctor.” I like this poem by Susan Harlan on the gendered dynamics of instructor naming conventions.
- Prioritize finding some kind of work-life balance. You’ll have more energy to be the best scholar/teacher/colleague you can be if you’ve recharged by doing something other than your job….Of course, that assumes that you don’t have to teach five courses a semester and hold a part-time job just to cover your rent, student loans, and day care.
- Learn how to say no. As per the article I linked to [Epistemic Reproductive Labor and the “Academic Wife”], women end up doing a lot of uncredited work. Prioritize things that are important for your career/family. Never commit to things immediately; walk away and think about it for 24 hours.
- Stop apologizing—for your family needs, tardy reply, whatever.
- There is never a good time to have children.
Networking and Job Searches
- Do attend and present at academic conferences, but stop putting panels together that are just you and your grad school friends. It’s important to use these opportunities to meet scholars from other institutions and organizations.
- Never go over time in a job talk. The floor will open up and swallow you.
- Never accept the first offer—i.e. always negotiate. Prioritize what’s most important to you (salary? start-up? spousal hire? etc.) and make the case for why this request is integral to your ability to be the best teacher-scholar you can be for that institution.
Clearly, this short blog post is not meant to fully summarize recent writings on the state of graduate student and early career academic professionalization. Further reflections and advice on academic professionalization can be found at Inside Higher Ed (see “5 Professional Skills”) and elsewhere, including those by the SHA’s Standing Committees in their blogs.
Thanks to all who answered my call for their professionalization advice. One of the most important reminders from one of these colleagues was how important these friendships are, especially in navigating this career. One friend wrote “I don’t know how to succeed in academia, but I do know how to enjoy it: surround yourself with colleagues and mentors you like and trust.” And another reminded all of us during our conversation, “Be kind—to yourself and to others.”
Posted on behalf of William A. White, III and Chris Fennell, guest editors
We are delighted to introduce a new, thematic collection of articles in Historical Archaeology entitled “Challenging Theories of Racism, Diaspora, and Agency in African America.” The studies provide an engaging sample of the diversity of creative approaches to theory and interpretation in African diaspora archaeology. The authors critically examine competing theoretical approaches and apply their perspectives to African-American pasts revealed through evidence in built environments, material culture, embodied experiences, documentary accounts, and archaeological remains. Their focus spans geographies from the far northwest of the United States to the Caribbean, and from urban to rural and island settings across several centuries.
The majority of authors in this thematic issue are individuals from heritage groups that are underrepresented in our community of professionals. They represent an emerging generation of new scholarship by individuals who bring their lived experiences of related heritage and racial dynamics to bear on their analytic sensibilities. The insights of critical race theory promise a bright future for our field with this new wave of experiential and intellectual engagements. Researchers of European-American heritage work to provide contributions as well, engaging in intensive collaborations with members of descendant communities and colleagues who bring such historical sensibilities to the arena of interpretative challenges.
Following the introductory essay, “Navigating Intersections in African Diaspora Archaeology,” by Chris Fennell (open access online: http://rdcu.be/pr57) articles in the forthcoming issue include:
* Where Tradition and Pragmatism Meet: African Diaspora Archaeology at the Crossroads–Anna S. Agbe-Davies
* Materialities of Homeplace–Annelise Morris
* Homesick Blues: Excavating Crooked Intimacies in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Jook Joints–Jamie M. Arjona
* Cruise Ships, Community, and Collective Memory at Millars Plantation, Eleuthera, Bahamas–Whitney Battle-Baptiste
* Locating Marginalized Historical Narratives at Kingsley Plantation–Ayana Omilade Flewellen
* Imagining Conformity: Consumption and Homogeneity in the Postwar African American Suburbs–Paul R. Mullins
* Race and Agency in the Williamsburg Area’s Free African American Population from 1723 to 1830–Rebecca Schumann
* Access Denied: African Americans and Access to End-of-Life Care in Nineteenth-Century Washington, D.C.–Justin Dunnavant
* Writ on the Landscape: Racialization, Whiteness, and River Street–William A. White, III
This is also the first issue of Historical Archaeology published by Springer. You can view the articles here: https://link.springer.com/journal/41636/51/1/page/1. SHA members can access full text PDFs by logging in to the SHA website (www.sha.org) and navigating to the Historical Archaeology page where you can find a link to the Springer site.
by Laura Heath-Stout
Boston University Department of Archaeology
This year, I attended the SHA Annual Meeting for the first time. I came to Fort Worth because of my research; not to present it, but to conduct it! My dissertation focuses on diversity issues in archaeology, and the ways they affect the knowledge we produce about the human past. At the SHA conference, I observed and participated in a variety of events devoted to making our discipline more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.
The Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC)
One of the first events I visited was the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee meeting. GMAC works on a variety of issues related to gender and race within the SHA, from ensuring that gender-neutral bathrooms are available at conferences to running anti-racism workshops to honoring especially diverse field-schools to setting up mentoring relationships for young archaeologists. One especially interesting development was the effort to reach out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities near Fort Worth to invite professors and students to our conference. GMAC is also working on a special issue of Historical Archaeology on minority issues, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
GMAC Anti-Racism Workshops
One of GMAC’s biggest projects over the last few years has been to offer anti-racism trainings at SHA annual meetings. As in previous years, trainers from Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training came to present their “Introduction to Systemic Racism” workshop on Saturday morning. In that workshop, each table wrote a six-word essay on why we must do anti-racist work as archaeologists. We wrote, “We can do better historical archaeology,” and “Collaboratively breaking patterned barriers with intention,” and “Lean back, let others lean in,” among others. Then, we discussed the ways that social institutions in the United States value white people over people of color, men over women, straight people over queer people, thin people over fat people, nondisabled people over disabled people, etc. After talking in general, we zoomed in to the specific: how does the SHA as an institution continue these oppressions? The conversation began with discussion of the orthodoxy of the SHA, the expense of coming to conferences, who is invited to symposia, and the scheduling of the conference.
The conversation continued on Sunday morning in the “Second Steps Anti-Racist Workshop,” where folks who had participated in the introductory training continued our educations. In this workshop, we primarily focused on the SHA, talking about where we stand on the road to becoming a truly multicultural organization. Then, we brainstormed ways to move forward: creating a sliding scale for conference fees, conducting outreach efforts to diverse institutions, livestreaming symposia so that people who cannot attend the conference can still participate, developing a more transparent culture about leadership and governance, and putting one person in charge of making our annual meeting accessible to people with disabilities. I hope that many of these changes will occur over the next few years, and that more people will attend the anti-racism trainings every annual meeting!
Intersectionality as Emancipatory Archaeology Symposium
Anti-oppression work was evident in the archaeological research being presented as well, especially in the symposium “Intersectionality as Emancipatory Archaeology.” With too many participants for a typical symposium slot, this symposium had two sessions on Friday morning and afternoon. It was organized by Stefan Woehlke, Megan Springate, and Suzanne Spencer-Wood, with Whitney Battle-Baptiste serving as discussant. In sixteen papers, a diverse group of scholars applied the idea of intersectionality to a wide variety of different archaeological contexts. The term intersectionality, coined by Black feminist legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, refers to the way that systems of oppression like racism, patriarchy, and classism, interact with each other to create many different effects on people depending on their many identities. Symposium participants applied intersectionality theory to educating Washington, D.C., youth about archaeology (Alexandra Jones), the Pauli Murray Project (Colleen Betti), analysis of white women planters’ roles at Montpelier (Matthew Reeves), and Black women’s consumption patterns at a postbellum farm in Texas (Nedra Lee), among many other subjects. Intersectionality in archaeology is a hot topic right now: the SAA Annual Meeting in Vancouver this spring also featured a symposium on intersectionality issues.
Women in Diving and Archaeology: Past, Present, and Future
ACUA members took part in anti-oppression work too! On Thursday afternoon, Jessica Keller and Mary Connelly organized a forum with about fifteen women underwater archaeologists discussing their experiences of sexism and advice for young women in navigating the field. Although the panelists agreed that underwater archaeology is a male-dominated world, they argued that through hard work, building networks of women colleagues and mentors, and patience, the field can become more welcoming to everyone.
It was exciting to see so much anti-oppression work happening at the Society for Historical Archaeology meeting. I hope that all these efforts will continue, making archaeology a more diverse and equitable discipline.
Rebecca Allen (Environmental Science Associates),
Sara Mascia (Historical Perspectives, Inc.), and
Joe Joseph (New South Associates)
One of the few issues that Washington, DC-based politicians agree on across the aisle is that the history of the United States is important. Yet even with Democratic and Republican support, the Historic Preservation Fund and other legislation is in jeopardy. The HPF is funded by off-shore oil revenue, not taxes, and while Congress re-authorized the HPF at the end of 2016, it has yet to approve funding. The HPF provides funding for the State Historic Preservation Offices, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and historic preservation grants. These funds are critical to how architectural historical and archaeological projects across the country get reviewed. School House Rock’s catchy tune “I’m Just a Bill” didn’t teach us this: authorization is nice, but without the funds to back it, laws are nothing. And this is not a straightforward process. Neither is getting the Historic Tax Credit for architecture restorations reauthorized. These efforts need spokespeople.
During Preservation Advocacy Week on Capitol Hill, the authors represented the Society for Historical Archaeology and our respective companies. We spent the week of March 13 flying to Washington, DC, learning the bill numbers and the congressional lingo, discussing strategies for how to talk with legislators and their staffers, and getting tips on what to say to get beyond the receptionist’s desk. Preservation Action is the nation’s oldest grassroots historic preservation advocate (founded in 1974). PA organizes Advocacy Week every year, held in conjunction with the National Council of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) annual meeting. Accompanied by other state delegates and SHPO staff, armed with our business cards, a congressional letter from the Historic Preservation Fund’s co-sponsors, and wide smiles, the authors opened about two dozen office doors of House Representatives and Senators.View of the Capitol from Rayburn House Office Building (House of Representatives)
We learned that the halls of Congress are very long. House representatives are not in one building, but in three. Senators are in yet another three buildings. Washington, DC can be very cold in March (it snowed on us every day), House and Senate buildings are not next to one another, and although every building has nice views of the Capitol, Congress members and their aides walk in underground tunnels between office buildings and between offices and the Capitol, out of the cold and away from the public. Legislation is messy, many are shell shocked at the new administration (both sides of the aisle), but the best way to get heard is to show up in person. Constituents matter. Republican staffers respond best to discussions of the economic importance of heritage tourism. Democrat staffers respond best to representations of diversity, and the importance of history in education.
Our experiences were varied. For Rebecca, solely representing California, stating that she had traveled to DC from their home state got a “heads up” look from the receptionists of California representatives. Telling the receptionist that she was there to thank the Congressperson for their support of historic preservation got a smile and nod. Telling the person that she was an archaeologist got a conversation, and that she was as happy to talk with a staffer rather than directly with a congressperson got her four in-person meetings, and a dozen or so business cards of the right legislative staffer to email.Rebecca Allen standing outside Tom McClintock’s (R-CA 4th District) office. Mr. McClintock is the representative of El Dorado County where she lives, and yet it was easier to get an in-person meeting with his Legislative Aide in Washington, DC than his office in Roseville, California. According to his Aide, Mr. McClintock obsessively watches the History Channel.
For Sara, New York has a very active SHPO office as well as several non-profit preservation groups. Representatives from each of these organizations participated in the Hill visits along with her. A representative from the NY Governor’s Office scheduled all of the meetings with congressional staffers from numerous districts over a period of three days and attended many of the meetings with the larger group. Sara traveled with a large delegation that split 10 of NY Congressional offices between them. Joe also traveled with a larger Georgia delegation, and visited nine offices for congressional appointments. We all learned to be succinct, have Congressional bill numbers at the ready, and have arguments well-honed and backed with figures. We were also able to share information about successful projects that had a direct and positive effect on the districts that they represent, and detail the number of individuals that are employed (directly and peripherally) in our field.
Getting support for environmental issues in Washington must be a concerted and consistent effort for the next several years. We need your help. SHA, ACRA, SAA, and AAA have banded together to form the Coalition for American Heritage (http://www.heritagecoalition.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/heritagecoalition/). The Coalition hired Cultural Heritage Partners as our advocate in Washington, DC. Sign up for email on critical legislation on the Coalition’s website. You can also become a member ($40/year) and track happenings on the Hill at Preservation Action (http://www.preservationaction.org). Contribute to either or both. Proposed changes to environmental legislation and death by defunding or non-funding are coming fast and furious. Petitions and protests matter. Media articles and interviews matter. Emails and phone calls matter, but snail mail gets lost in the still-testing-for-anthrax ringer (send an email or better yet, call, instead).
What matters most? According to Javier Gamboa, Nanette Barragan’s (D-CA 44th District) Legislative Director, “Talking with your feet is important. When someone comes here all the way from [each state], we listen. Lobbyists are good, but having constituents in front of us is even better. Genuine and passionate people like you connect us directly to the issues at hand. It’s important. It lets us know what matters, and what is happening in [our home states].” As unique as it is visiting the DC offices of your congressperson, the opportunity is not only for those who can travel to our Nation’s Capital. Each of your Representatives and Senators has offices in their home district. It is just as important to take some time and visit them there when Congress in not in session. Remember to always bring your business card and some printed information to leave with the staff or your actual Congressperson when you go.
There is a “Dear Colleague” letter circulating Congress and asking for support for the HPF. Please email, call, or visit your state House Representatives and Senators, and ask them to sign-on to the HPF Dear Colleague Letter. The Dear Colleague letter closes on March 30th, so please contact your Congressional representatives now.