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Black Feminist Archaeology by Whitney Battle-Baptiste

By Whitney Battle-Baptiste

Black feminist suggestion has constructed in numerous elements of the academy for over 3 many years, yet has made in simple terms minor inroads into archaeological concept and perform. Whitney Battle-Baptiste outlines the elemental tenets of Black feminist suggestion and learn for archaeologists and indicates how it may be used to enhance modern historic archaeology. She demonstrates this utilizing Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the net Du Bois Homesite in Massachusetts, and the Lucy Foster apartment 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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I could see that the arguments of why it was important to ask the questions, the overall implications of not including gender, and the need to push to initiate parallels with other disciplines hit very close to home. I was still carrying the baggage of my mistrust of the equal rights movement, second-wave feminism and exclusionary practice based on class, race and sexuality. I admit, this is a very narrow understanding of the movement—the struggles of middle-class white women and, most importantly, feminist studies within the academy were a bit unfounded.

As Paul Mullins warns, The archaeological details of everyday diasporan agency, however, risk becoming detached from the concrete structural impressions of global racism and Atlantic cultural connections that remain at the heart of almost all diasporan scholarship. Elevating the individual agent may have its own problematic political impacts if archaeologists reproduce a distinctly European sense of individualism, and if diasporan archaeologies fail to address globality, they risk losing significant sociopolitical power.

The first part maps out what a Black Feminist archaeological methodology looks like. It provides a more detailed chronicle of my journey to archaeology and the ways the foundational structure of Black intellectual thought combined with Black feminism positively informs new and innovative approaches to understanding the lives and histories of women of African descent in the United States. The second part is a basic revision of my work at the Hermitage Museum, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson in Hermitage, Tennessee.

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