This is not a Manifesto: Archaeology and Feminism

  • Pamela L. GellerEmail author
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 317)


Feminism is inescapably political, a qualification that generates ambivalence for archaeologists. Skeptics argue that integration compromises scientific objectivity. Advocates explain that political alignment engenders better practice in the present, while feminist perspectives deepen understanding of past social organizations. The contribution is not unidirectional for feminism is well served by archaeological evidence that calls notions about human nature into question, like the sexual division of labor. Despite paradigmatic changes, however, there are aspects of archaeology that resist transformation; demographic composition, acceptable research foci, and pedagogical emphases are discussed. In explanation, I explore the connection between truth and power. The presence of subtle and obvious sexisms in institutional settings, as well as the facility with which both are disappeared, provides entry for deliberation. Reflection makes transparent how violence—whether structural, symbolic, or interpersonal—may seem idiosyncratic but in fact is pervasive and exists collectively. Suggestions about destabilizing entrenched gender inequities are offered.


Archaeology Power Division of labor Sexisms Violence Pedagogy 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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