These days, images of Black women protesting proliferate, but often they are accompanied with captions that describe Black women as on the frontlines fighting for the rights of Black men, as if police violence does not also affect us.
Archaeologists have the potential to contribute to collective black history and memory, and to help black folks reconstruct their histories from a more politically aware viewpoint. I am a member of a historically disempowered and marginalized group with access to forms of elite knowledge, utilizing social theory and producing knowledge within a field that has traditionally been dominated by white men. From my position, I am able to rearticulate the stories of the black women in this collection and lend my own critical insights into the history of oppression.
From critical reflections on the discipline and experiences of it, to grappling with fake news and social media through an anthropological lens, to discussions on race and diversity in the anthropological imagination and the United States more broadly, this year’s top articles speak to major political moments and discipline-specific concerns.
I have a quite uncomfortable visceral reaction when I am asked to speak to how I experience anthropology—and the academy more broadly—as a Black woman. I resent the feeling that the questioner believes that they know the answer before they ask—that they are actually looking for some kind of confirmation of their belief in the promise that a change is gon’ come, within the reality that it ain’t here yet.
For attendees of the AAA Annual Meeting in San José, the reference to smoke is apropos. We all saw and felt the cloud of nearby disaster. Smoke is a cloud, dimming vision and making it hard to breathe deeply. How was it possible to pass from venue to venue, and session to business meeting to roundtable with that cloud hanging over us all?