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: 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: SHA members can access full text PDFs by logging in to the SHA website ( and navigating to the Historical Archaeology page where you can find a link to the Springer site.