Roundtable - Late-Breaking
Reviewed by: AAA Late-Breaking Review Committee
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Human rights
Secondary Theme: Sexual harassment and misconduct
#MeToo in Archaeology will provide a platform for people to anonymously share their stories of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and sexual violence directly experienced on archaeological projects and/or within the archaeological community.
The #MeToo movement and the political moment it captures were explored in anthropological context in the May/June 2018 edition of AAA’s Anthropology News, building off of the term’s 2006 inception by Tarana Burke and its viral takeoff in late 2017. The movement has brought stories of sexual violence – which are often ignored or untold – out into a public conversation and demonstrated just how prevalent those stories are. When done well, the #MeToo movement and its offshoots commit to an intersectional framework that is sensitive to the dynamics of race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic inequality underlying sexual violence. Making space for survivors to share their stories through the #MeToo conversation does more than simply acknowledge and validate their experiences: this conversation is a first step in a much longer path towards structural change.
We believe it is time to bring this conversation to archaeology. Archaeology has for too long offered safe harbor to perpetrators of sexual harassment and violence; this has long been known anecdotally and has been confirmed in recent years by more systematic research. Perpetrators of sexual violence in archaeology may rely on positions of power and authority to harass and otherwise attack students and colleagues – and too often these situations are exacerbated by fieldwork settings, where social expectations may feel lax, murky, or seemingly removed from the norms of the “real world”. Survivors of sexual violence in archaeology may feel pressure to keep silent about their experiences for many (valid) reasons. We hope to provide a platform where survivors can share their truths of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and sexual violence that they have experienced in archaeology in a way that is safe and anonymous, while still bringing those experiences to the attention of the academy and to the public.
#MeToo in Archaeology claims a space for conversations about sexual violence and pushes our discipline to confront the work we need to do to make archaeology a more intersectional and more feminist field.