By Whitney Battle-Baptiste
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Additional resources for Black Feminist Archaeology
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.