Seminar Details

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Knowledge Series: Heritage, Social Justice, and Archaeology Education with Eleanor M. King

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Knowledge Series: Heritage, Social Justice, and Archaeology Education with Eleanor M. King

When: January 12, 2022 2:00-3:00 PM

Duration: 1 hour

Certification: None


Individual Registration: Free to SAA members; not available to non-members

Group Registration: 

Eleanor M. King is a Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University. An archaeologist, archivist, and educator, she specializes in the prehispanic Maya of Belize and the history of Buffalo Soldier and Apache interaction in the Southwest U.S. She has also researched and lectured on public outreach in archaeology, heritage studies, and illicit trafficking in antiquities. In 2016 she co-founded The Heritage Education Network (THEN) with Carol Ellick, a non-profit aimed at disseminating information about heritage education to practitioners from the multiple disciplines that practice it.
If heritage comes from the stories we tell about our past, both individually and collectively, then how can we be more inclusive in heritage education? This question is at the heart of this one-hour seminar, which focuses on a current challenge in archaeology. In an environment where heritage is being contested and redefined, how do we research and teach it? Archaeology, which focuses on the tangible aspects of heritage, has played a part in trying to broaden the discussion, but we have not done enough. Archaeological education, in particular, whether public outreach or college classroom training, can fail to attract the diverse audiences or practitioners many hoped for. In the wake of Black Lives Matter, a number of institutions have tried to reformulate their programming to be more inclusive, not only to African Americans but to other underrepresented groups. It is not enough to create internships or field opportunities that honor diversity, equity, and inclusion without pipelines from underrepresented groups to feed into those opportunities. This talk reviews some of the obstacles to creating those kinds of pipelines and approaches to addressing them. It does not offer concrete solutions so much as ways of thinking about the problem and discussion about future solutions.
The Knowledge Series seminars are opportunities to learn from prominent archaeologists as they share their experiences and expertise.