International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 498-526

First online:

A Feminist Framework for Analyzing Powered Cultural Landscapes in Historical Archaeology

  • Suzanne M. Spencer-WoodAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Oakland UniversityPeabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University Email author 

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“Powered cultural landscapes” is my term for landscapes that express social power dynamics. Historical archaeologists have not adopted or developed adequate definitions or theorizations of the terms “power” or “landscape.” Since these terms are predominantly considered separately in the literature, this article first briefly defines power and develops a heterarchical theory of power. Then cultural landscapes are defined and categories of human-landscape interactions are constructed. The bulk of the article applies my heterarchical paradigm to analyze the social power dynamics in selected examples of historical archaeological research concerned with each category of human-landscape interaction.


Landscape Power Class Ethnicity Gender