Standing at the Crossroads: Toward an Archaeology of the African Diaspora

Whitney Battle-Baptiste (UMASS)
10/2/2013

In the 1970s a group of radical Black Feminists, known as the Combahee River Collective, met and put forth a concept they called the “simultaneity of oppression.” In 1989, legal studies scholar, Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” to describe the interlocking matrix of oppression (meaning race, gender and class) experienced by women of African descent within the U.S. legal system. For African Diaspora archaeology, the framework of intersectionality has become a useful method for providing new insights into the past lives and experiences of women and men of the African descent.  This paper will discuss this recent trend and expand the discussion to include the usefulness of Black Feminist Archaeology, the impact of critical heritage in the interpretation of African American historic sites, and the movement toward a multidimensional analysis within the field of historical and African Diaspora archaeology.

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