Monthly Archives: October 2016

“Nasty Women” and Man the Hunter: Archaeology and Gender Politics in 2016

Gender Politics in the 2016 Election: Exploring Archaeological Interventions Let’s talk about gender. We certainly aren’t the only ones; the country is abuzz with discussions surrounding gender and politics. For the first time in history, a man and a woman are competing for the highest office in the United States of America. In no other presidential election have gender politics been so visible, or so divisive. To start, I’ll touch on two primary examples (of many, to be sure) of the ways gender has come into play in the current election.   Example 1: Donald Trump’s Version of Masculinity A few weeks ago, the world heard a presidential nominee speak casually, proudly, smugly about sexually assaulting women. We saw the outrage – many voices from both parties condemned his words, and many more pointed it out as a demonstration of the type of toxic masculinity that persists like a wound beneath gender relations in our country. We also saw many men and women move to defend these words; they were justified as “locker room talk” and “men being men,” or dismissed as the status quo for men in power. Often, these justifications ignored the difference between talk of sex and talk [Read More]

MAPA announces new fieldwork at Poverty Point, LA – Starting Summer 2017

  Poverty Point is one of the largest, most ancient, and most complex earthen mound constructions in the Western Hemisphere.  Made up of six concentric earthen ridges, six mounds, a central plaza, and associated borrow areas spread across 163 hectares in northeastern Louisiana – Poverty Point was constructed by populations who hunted, gathered and fished between 3,700 and 3,100 years ago, and is one of the earliest monumental sites in North America. Deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014, Poverty Point exemplifies many aspects of public archaeology in the United States – it is a place of both local and global heritage, it looms large within the study of Native Americans in the region, and it is considered socially, politically, and cosmologically powerful by its many publics. For these reasons, MAPA is excited to begin fieldwork at Poverty Point this coming year.  In conjunction with Mississippi State University, University of Louisiana at Monroe, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, faculty at Binghamton University, including Matthew Sanger and Carl Lipo, have developed field research at Poverty Point and its surroundings slated to begin in Summer 2017. While most attention at [Read More]

An Archaeologist’s Guide to Election Season: A Preface

It’s Election Season – but what does Archaeology have to do with it? November 8 is a mere three weeks away.  Where do we start, so close to the end of what has been perhaps the most divisive and vitriolic election in the history of our country? Over the next month, I propose to assemble a series of posts exploring the relationships between archaeology and the national and global issues facing the country as we elect our 45th President.  These connections are rich, challenging, productive, and continually developing, though perhaps not immediately apparent to a general public that sees archaeology as a discipline dealing exclusively in a distant, resolved past.  As we witness wars, our own and others, through images that many of us can barely comprehend from the safety of our homes; as climate change, mindless of the debates around its existence in political circles, takes its increasing toll, already displacing whole communities and leaving the Great Barrier Reef dying in its wake; as Black bodies are met with fear and violence and exposed to national input on the validity of their lives and the justification of their deaths; as sacred lands and access to clean water are denied to Native Americans in the name of profit; as women [Read More]

Martin’s Cove and the Future of Public Archaeology

Howdy! With this final post, I will relinquish my tenure as the guest editor of the Binghamton MAPA blog. It’s been a pleasure covering issues in public archaeology in the American West. I suspect you’ll enjoy the work of my successor, the very capable Trish Markert, a PhD student in historical archaeology. So now my task is to bundle up the several ideas I’ve explored this month, and to propose a few things that will be challenges for public archaeology in the future. As you may have noticed, I’ve got a lot to say on the issue of public archaeology and the public lands of the West. But I’ve got comprehensive exams to take in a few weeks, a dissertation prospectus to be writing, and grading to be done! So I’m forced to keep this as brief as possible, and leave several major issues unexplored.   However, for now, I want to turn to the issue of the public and private spheres, and how public archaeology is going to increasingly be called on to mediate the two, particularly in regards to sacred sites, cultural landscapes, and traditional cultural properties. Since large-scale, publicly-funded salvage archaeology began during the Depression, we’ve gotten pretty [Read More]