GMAC Diversity Field School Competition

This year the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC) is hosting its first annual Diversity Field School Competition. In an effort to continue making the field of historical archaeology more inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic background, the competition will recognize those who have shown a commitment to increasing diversity in the field and encourage further discussion of the topic. Applicants are required to submit a short essay on diversity, a summary of their field school, and some form of multimedia (photo, pamphlet, video clip, etc.) that highlights diversity in their field school. All awardees will be acknowledged at the 47th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology and recognized on the SHA website, while the first place winner will receive special commendation. GMAC encourages submissions from all SHA members and conference attendees. The Application Form is available online and completed applications—as well as additional questions—may be directed to GMACdiversityfieldschool@gmail.com. For more information, please refer to the Submission guidelines.

Toward A More Diverse SHA

The idea for the Diversity Field School Competition developed out of a series of larger discussions within the SHA about viable ways to increase diversity within the organization. At the 2011 SHA conference, GMAC members determined that increasing diversity was an important step toward social justice and helping the SHA reflect the diverse communities historical archaeologists serve. These calls for greater diversity were reinforced by subsequent GMAC panels and initiatives such as the GMAC Student Travel Award and diversity training for SHA board members. Earlier this year current SHA president, Paul Mullins, announced his commitment to “make diversity an increasingly articulate part of the SHA mission and our collective scholarly practice.” Additionally archaeologists abroad are discussing the issue of diversity, particularly after the recent release of the Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 2012-2013 report which identified 99% of archaeologists working in the UK as white. As a result we hope this competition helps to not only recognize those who have shown a commitment to diversity, but also open dialogue about ways to increase the presence of archaeologists from the many underrepresented groups.

We encourage you to also visit the SHA Events website for more information about other SHA competitions, events, and workshops. Hope to see you all in Quebec!

Interested in becoming a part of the conversation? Let us know how archaeologists can work together to increase diversity in the field, and please consider joining or volunteering for the GMAC.

SHA 2013: Gender and Minority Affairs Committee Travel Award

The Society for Historical Archaeology is committed to diversity, and is excited to announce its support of:

The 2013 Gender and Minority Affairs Student Travel Award

The Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC) is sponsoring two travel awards to graduate students who are presenting at the 2013 annual meeting in Leicester. Each award provides a prize of $500 to defray travel costs. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate program, be a member of the SHA, and be presenting a paper or poster at the conference.

The goals of the fellowship are to increase diversity and to encourage student involvement at the meetings. Diversity is inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic background. Applications are encouraged from diverse populations including, but not limited to, groups historically underrepresented in archaeology.

To apply, send a CV (the name of your advisor/supervisor should be indicated on the first page), a letter of interest, and your poster or paper abstract submission. In your letter, please address the following:

1) Explain how you will increase diversity in historical archaeology, and why increasing diversity within the discipline and the SHA is important.

2) State how participation in the SHA Conference will advance your career and research.

3) Explain how your paper will potentially benefit those who attend your session.

The letter should be succinct and no longer than two single-spaced pages.

Following the conference, award recipients are required to submit a one-page report to the GMAC Chair on their conference experience and their thoughts on diversifying archaeology that will be posted to the SHA Blog.

Please note: individuals can apply for both the GMAC and Ed and Judy Jelks Student Travel awards, but may only receive one in the same year.

Deadline for submission:  September 3, 2012

Submit your application materials to Flordeliz T. Bugarin, Chair of the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee, via email at florie_bugarin@yahoo.com.

The award will be announced by October 3, 2012, and the award funds will be distributed at the SHA conference in Leicester.

Don’t forget that in addition to the GMAC Travel Award, there are two other awards available to enable students to attend the SHA 2013 conference in Leicester.

All graduate students who are presenting a paper at the SHA conference should consider applying for the Ed and Judy Jelks Student Travel Award; two awards of $500 are available.

The Quebec City Award, of up to $750, is granted to assist French-speaking students to attend the SHA conference. To be considered for the prize, candidates must be a standing member of SHA, be registered in a French-language university (contrary to the name of the award, you don’t have to be studying in Quebec!) and preparing a thesis or dissertation in French – and they must present a substantive or theoretical paper at the annual conference. Further information about the award, and how to apply, can be found on the SHA Awards webpage.

Good luck!

Image: “Muro Occidentale o del Pianto” (Western Wall or Wailing Wall) by Fabio Mauri (1993) CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr

Establishing the Society of Black Archaeologists

The field of African American historical archaeology witnessed a boom in social and political consciousness from Black scholars during the 1990s. In 1994 Theresa Singleton and Elizabeth Scott broke new ground with the founding of the Society of Historical Archaeology‘s Gender and Minority Affairs Committee. Several years later, African American archaeologist, Maria Franklin (1997a;1997b) published on the lack of racial diversity in the field and archaeology’s affect on the African Diaspora. The 90s also represented a critical time in African American historical archaeology, in particular, with the excavation and later commemoration of both the Freedman’s Cemetery in Dallas, Texas and the African Burial Ground in Manhattan, New York. Cheryl La Roche and Michael L. Blakey’s (1997) article “Seizing Intellectual Power: The Dialogue at the New York African Burial Ground,” stressed the importance of community collaboration, while Theresa Singleton’s (1999) book, I, too, am America: Archaeological Studies of African American Life, addressed issues of African American representation, and the need for alternative methodological and pedagogical practices within the field.

In years prior, scholars and students alike have historically discussed the need to create an organization (or institute) to identify and address these social and political concerns as well as foster additional dialogue. However, the low numbers of Blacks in the field thwarted previous attempts to solidify an organization until now. More than four decades after the establishment of the Association of Black Anthropologists and a decade after these publications, the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA) was established.

The groundwork for SBA was laid in 2011 by a few students at the University of Florida who saw the potential to address some concerns within the field of archaeology. At this year’s annual SHA conference in Baltimore, Maryland a group of Black archaeologists came together to discuss their experiences as racial minorities in the field. The meeting brought together veteran and amateur archaeologists, reaffirming the organizations commitment to promote the development of five goals:

  1. To lobby on behalf and ensure the proper treatment of African and African Diaspora material culture.
  2. To promote archaeological research and recruit more blacks to enter the field of archaeology.
  3. To raise and address contemporary concerns relating to African peoples worldwide.
  4. To highlight the past and present achievements and contributions that blacks have made in the field of archaeology.
  5. To ensure that the communities affected by archaeological work are not simply viewed as objects of study or informants. Rather, they should be treated as active makers and/or participants in the unearthing and interpretation of their history.

As of right now SBA currently operates as a listserv as opposed to a formal organization; however, it is currently engaged in two new projects. The first project is interested in exploring the history of blacks in archaeology. SBA is working to collect oral histories from individuals throughout the African Diaspora who have had exposure to archaeology. The Oral History Project was created to collect and archive oral history interviews of Blacks in the field to gain a better understanding of the roles and experiences Blacks have had in the past and present. The first interview was with Whitney Battle-Baptiste, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and can be heard online at the SBA website. Listeners can hear Dr. Battle-Baptiste discuss how her worldview influenced her research, and her humble beginnings in the field of archaeology.

In addition to the Oral History project, SBA members have been working to increase the presence of archaeology in the field of African Diaspora Studies and organized a panel presentation entitled, “Our Things Remembered: Unearthing relations between Archaeology and Black Studies,” at the National Council for Black Studies 2012 annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. SBA has also been invited to organize an additional panel for the 2012 Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) convention to be held in Philadelphia this September.

If you have an interest in archaeology and would like to join our listserv please e-mail sbarchaeologists@gmail.com. The organization is still in its foundational stage and we are currently looking for relevant information to post on the website including job openings, internships, field schools, and articles for the blog attached to the website. We are always open to comments and suggestions.

Please check out the SBA website often for updates at www.societyofblackarchaeologists.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sbarchaeologists

References

  • Franklin, Maria
    • 1997a “Power to the People”: Sociopolitics and the Archaeology of Black Americans. Historical Archaeology 31(3):36-50.
    • 1997b Why are there so few black American archaeologists? Antiquity: an international journal of expert archaeology 71(274).
  • La Roche, Cheryl and Michael Blakey
    • 1997 Seizing Intellectual Power: The Dialogue at the New York African Burial Ground. Historical Archaeology 31(3):84-106.
  • Singleton, Theresa (editor)
    • 1999 “I, Too, Am America”: Archaeological Studies of African-American Life. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville