Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology – An Equitability Project

By The Project Team Members

“Representation. Decolonize, one, your own bookshelf. That means read works by People of Color. Then diversify your actual courses.”- Dr. Alexandra Jones (“Archaeology in the time of Black Lives Matter” 2020)

The topic of starting a group bibliography was raised in June 2020 in response to the “Archaeology in the time of Black Lives Matter” panel discussion (and Dr. Alexandra Jones’ [founder and CEO of Archaeology in the Community] action item list) and our frustrations with the lack of equity among the authors most frequently cited in archaeology syllabi and bibliographies (e.g., Bardolph and VanDerwarker 2016; Beaudry and White 1994; Cite Black Women Collective 2018; Franklin 1997; Heath-Stout 2019, 2020; Hutson 2002). There was a sense of urgency to our work; in part due to the momentum and immediacy of social and political unrest in the country, a need and want to amplify traditionally marginalized voices in archaeology, and because we knew many of us (and our colleagues) were rethinking our approach to teaching our undergraduate and graduate courses. A retooling of fall course syllabi loomed on the horizon. How best to create a resource that is useful for teaching and research, but is also dynamic and will remain useful beyond this moment in time? The “Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology – An Equitability Project” is the result of these discussions.

We ultimately decided that a dynamic online bibliography that allowed for community-sourcing and keyword tagging of entries would be the most useful. In addition, we knew we needed a landing place, or a home, for the bibliography so people could easily find it, understand the parameters and goals, and send in citation recommendations. Fortunately, there are many free online tools for this type of project. After discussions of different bibliographic tools, we decided to go with the one that was most widely (and freely) available. We chose Zotero to house the bibliography, a Google Form for community submissions of entries, Google Docs to create a project framework and controlled vocabulary for the keyword tags, and a project website hosted by Humanities Commons. 

Creating a Community-Sourced Dynamic Open-Access Bibliography

The goal of the bibliography is simple: to make easily accessible the work of women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ archaeologists and scholars of all abilities and to provide a living database where those works can be shared across the archaeological community. The citations included in the bibliography are focused on the Southeastern United States, broadly conceived. We welcome contributions by scholars working in other regions to broaden the theoretical and methodological scope and cross-disciplinary nature of our work. Our hope is that by promoting the above works, this project will foster improvements in equitability among citation, curricula, and pedagogical practices.

By the end of August 2020, there have been nearly 700 citations input into the bibliography. We thank those who have already submitted citations through the Google Form. We urge all members of SEAC to submit resources to the bibliography. We started this project on June 19, 2020. We are currently inputting citations from our personal bibliographies into Zotero. Additional metadata will be collected from various search engines, databases, and the archaeological community. The Google Submission Form is set-up to capture all necessary bibliographic information. The form then outputs the responses into a Google Sheet for vetting by the Project Team Members before entry into the Zotero group library. Additional metadata will be collected from various search engines, databases, and the archaeological community. The bibliography is set up in Zotero, which has specific parameters and standard information that is to be collected for different reference types. All entries are tagged with 3-5 terms from the “Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology” Controlled Vocabulary. The Controlled Vocabulary is being created by Project members.

How does one use the bibliography?

The bibliography is a dynamic space that accommodates the needs of its users and contributors. You can search the bibliography by choosing key terms (e.g., mound-building, zooarchaeology, Mississippian, Archaic, etc.), searching the tag box (e.g., theory, African Diaspora, etc.), narrowing your search by author, paper title and date, or even searching by publication type. The Zotero group library “Re-Centering SE Arch Bibliography” is open to the public, meaning current Zotero users can add the library to their collection of group libraries; however, library editing is limited to Project Team Members.

A search for “Kentucky” currently only returns 7 citations (Figure 1). We highly encourage the archaeological community to submit citations to fill in our gaps!

Figure 1. Screenshot of Bibliographic Sources Tagged with “Kentucky”

How does one submit a citation for inclusion in the bibliography? 

To submit a citation, please use the “Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology” Submission Form, found here (no account needed): https://forms.gle/79w4K3f7uq2nx3YX8.  Once your information is received we will review it and add it to the bibliography. Please be sure to include your email address in the last field on the form. This will not be shared publicly but will allow us to contact you in the event we have any questions about your submission. 

The Website

The project website, Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology – An Equitability Project, is hosted on Humanities Commons. Humanities Commons is a social and academic community founded by the Modern Language Association (MLA), with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Humanities Commons is a free open-source and open-access hub for those engaged in teaching and research in the humanities. The project website is housed on hcommons.org and was built using WordPress. The website is the landing place for the Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology – An Equitability Project. The main bibliography tab on the website offers a direct link to the Zotero group library. The website also houses the citation submission form and a separate resources page (see below) with links to additional websites, organizations, scholarships, and field school opportunities.  

The Resources Page

The Resources Page of the Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology website houses links to additional resources that include the following: 

-Collections for further reading;
-Teaching resources;
-Video resources;
-Organizations;
-Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants; and 
-Field Schools

The Field School Map

During the “Archaeology in the time of Black Lives Matter” panel discussion, Dr. Jones presented an action item to create partnerships between field schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to reduce racial opportunity segregation (i.e., if a field school is at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) and is closed to that institution, the field school will remain predominantly white). The Southeast Archaeology Field School Map Tool was created to aid archaeologists with this action item. We hope this map tool, which shows the locations of HBCUs and archaeology programs with field schools located in the Southeast, will encourage and facilitate collaboration between these two communities. We also hope this tool is used with ethical intentions: we ask that field schools do not use it to  “poach” students from HBCUs and that collaborators are sensitive to potentially traumatizing sites and materials (e.g., plantations). This map tool can be found under the Resources tab- “Field Schools” section of the Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology website. 

Figure 2. Preview of the Southeast Archaeology Field School Map Tool (red= SE Field School Institutions, yellow= HBCUs)

The Future of Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology

This bibliography is only as useful as the community that supports and contributes to it. The Project Team Members created this space to benefit the larger archaeological community. We are committed to maintaining this resource, but we need YOUR help in growing the bibliography and adding to the Resources page. We are entering into conversations with Digital Antiquity and the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) on ways to collaborate and grow this effort.  We encourage all members of SEAC to contribute to this growing database and to utilize this tool in creating syllabi, researching archaeological projects, and writing papers and reports.  We see this bibliography as a first step to creating a more equitable archaeological community that is working toward centering the voices of women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ archaeologists, and scholars of all abilities. 

About the Re-Centering Southeastern Archaeology Project Team

This project is an outgrowth of remote conversations begun in mid-March in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. This group is made up of a casually collected group of women archaeologists, all members of SEAC. What started out as introductions in a group chat among people loosely connected within 6 degrees of each other, became commiseration, cooperation, and collaboration over bi-monthly Zoom hangouts. Group members are at different career and life stages, work in all archaeological periods and areas across the Southeastern US (and in other places) and cover nearly every analytical specialty. The Project Team Members are:

Sarah E. Baires, PhD, Eastern Connecticut State University
Jodi A. Barnes, PhD, Arkansas Archeological Survey, University of Arkansas
Emily L. Beahm, PhD, Arkansas Archeological Survey, University of Arkansas
Elizabeth T. Horton, PhD, Rattlesnake Master LLC, Charlottesville, VA
Maureen S. Meyers, PhD, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Mississippi 
Erin S. Nelson, PhD, RPA, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, University of South Alabama
Tanya M. Peres, PhD, RPA, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University
Grace E. Riehm, MA, RPA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
Allison M. Smith, MA, PhD student, Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama.
Karen Y. Smith, PhD, RPA, Heritage Trust Program, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Karen A. Stevens, PhD Candidate, University of Kentucky, and Kentucky Heritage Council

References cited

Bardolph, Dana N., and Amber M. VanDerwarker
2016 Sociopolitics in Southeastern Archaeology: The Role of Gender in Scholarly Authorship. Southeastern Archaeology 35(3). https://danabardolph.com/publication/bardolph-and-vanderwarker-2016/

Beaudry, Mary C, and Jacquelyn White
1994 Cowgirls with the Blues: A Study of Women’s Publication and the Citation of Women’s Work in Historical Archaeology. In Women in Archaeology, edited by Cheryl Claassen, pp. 138–158. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Cite Black Women Collective
2018 Cite Black Women: A Critical Praxis. Electronic document, https://www.citeblackwomencollective.org/our-praxis.html, accessed 20 June 2020. 

Franklin, Maria
1997 Why Are There So Few Black American Archaeologists? Antiquity 71(274): 799-801.

Heath-Stout, Laura
2020 Who Writes about Archaeology? An Intersectional Study of Authorship in Archaeological Journals. American Antiquity DOI: 10.1017/aaq.2020.28

2019 Diversity, Identity, and Oppression in the Production of Archaeological Knowledge. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Boston University. 

Hutson, Scott R.
2002 Gendered Citation Practices in American Antiquity and Other Archaeology Journals. American Antiquity 67(2):331–342.

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