Black Feminist Archaeology by Whitney Battle-Baptiste

By Whitney Battle-Baptiste

Black feminist suggestion has constructed in a variety of components of the academy for over 3 many years, yet has made in simple terms minor inroads into archaeological thought and perform. Whitney Battle-Baptiste outlines the fundamental tenets of Black feminist suggestion and examine for archaeologists and indicates how it may be used to enhance modern historic archaeology. She demonstrates this utilizing Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the internet Du Bois Homesite in Massachusetts, and the Lucy Foster condo in Andover, which represented the 1st archaeological excavation of an African American domestic. Her demand an archaeology extra delicate to questions of race and gender is a crucial improvement for the field.

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In charge. Serious. (Walker 1983: xi) Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counter-balance of laughter), and women’s strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/ or nonsexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health. (Walker 1983: xi) Until the writing process, I maintained my identity as a Womanist [a term coined by Alice Walker that first appeared in Alice Walker’s Searching for Our Mother’s Garden: A Womanist prose (Walker 1983)].

I understood the impact of not only focusing on gender in my work, but how certain “innocent” assumptions often play an active role in contemporary forms of racialized and gendered stereotypes. For example, one of my fears was that my work could mistakingly be perceived as reproducing old imageries of a broken and dysfunctional Black family forced by captivity into a non-patriarchal, therefore “pathological” (women-centered) family structure. This would then lead to yet another analysis of the exploded sense of the “strong Black 39 Black F eminist A rchaeology woman” as a way of understanding Black culture and the Black family (Wallace 1999).

I had been there nearly two weeks and loved almost every aspect of the internship. However, there was something a little off that I could not yet explain. I was immersed in the full field experience; I was digging, eating, socializing, and living with the field crew. I was learning from archaeologists like Larry McKee (the director of the program) and Brian Thomas (the assistant director) and Jillian Galle (the field supervisor) and absorbing as much as I could. I had a lot to learn and was doing my best to make sure that I did not mess anything up.

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