Tag Archives: 2016 Presidential election

Can Archaeology Make the World Safe for Difference? (or Confronting Race in Trump’s America)

A Serious Project: Confronting Race in Trump’s America “This is a serious project,” Toni Morrison wrote in the days after Donald Trump’s election, in an essay entitled Mourning for Whiteness. “So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.” Toni Morrison’s words strike deeply into discussions of race over the past few weeks. To many, these are threatening words; they shake comfortable realities, are difficult to grasp and easy to dismiss. To others, they speak a deep truth that has been rubbed raw by the upsurge in bigotry and violence since the election. This post discusses racial justice and archaeology, but it also discusses action. In the wake of just two weeks of uncertainty, violence, and fear, there is so much work to be done. We have been inundated with liberal think-pieces about how and why we are faced with a Trump presidency. The Democratic platform failed to appeal to voters of color. It abandoned the white working-class in the small [Read More]

Archaeology in Trump’s America: Borders, Immigration, and Revolutionary Remembering

  Four days ago, I started this post with a framework already in mind. In that framework, we had our first female president. In that framework, absurd and hateful ideas such as a wall stretching across our southern border or laws banning Muslims from entering our country became rhetorical lessons for future generations of voters, lessons about how blatant xenophobia and racism had carried a candidate and how that candidate had lost. I expected to write this post and say that though the looming danger of those promises had passed, the hate and fear had not, and that we had quite a lot to work on as archaeologists confronting the words, ideas, and practices that perpetuate that hateful rhetoric. And then, Donald Trump won the election. Where before I felt that our job was dialogic and weighty, I now feel that it is critical. It is potentially revolutionary. The world has changed overnight, and the role of archaeology along with it. We must be ready to meet the challenges. They are new, uncertain, and frightening, but now is the time for our discipline to show its political teeth. We saved the topics of immigration and displacement until election week because [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]