Introduction: Labor and the Challenge of Plurality in Historical Archaeology
Contributors to this special issue prioritize labor in contexts of plurality, present and past. Authors treat each context differently, but collectively focus on those who are traditionally marginalized or underrepresented in prevailing histories and collective memories. Accordingly, authors recover and render the past in ways that emphasize working-class families, indigenous Americans, enslaved and free people of color, and descendants of mixed-heritage households, each victimized by peculiar impositions privileging some and subordinating others. The contributions diverge in approach and context, yet all apply labor to address deficient, yet conventional, approaches and proffer nuanced perspectives for understanding the past.
Plural contexts—spaces, sites, and settlements created and inhabited by the diverse people brought together by structural forces of the modern world—inspired the concept of this collection. Contributors revitalize Kent Lightfoot’s (1995) early...
I have amassed great debt to many people in the process of putting together this special collection and organizing the two conference sessions that inspired it. Foremost are thanks to the many contributors for their preparedness and efficiency in handling early drafts and submissions. More importantly, thank you for your patience and understanding, especially Christopher N. Matthews, friend and editor of Historical Archaeology, and all the others working behind the scenes who brought this to fruition. Finally, we are all indebted to the anonymous reviewers, who offered insightful feedback and suggestions that ultimately shaped the outcome of this issue.
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