I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog post, sorry.
It’s been 2 months since I last updated because nothing much has been happening. I was in between semesters. Today was the first day of my last semester before I graduate in May. I’m taking Old World Archaeology with my favorite professor and Anthropological Theory. I’ve read through the syllabi for both classes and WOOOOEEEEEEE this is going to be a writing intensive semester! I don’t mind, though, because it will be good practice for writing my master’s thesis starting in September (I’m speaking positively, see, because I haven’t actually been accepted yet).
We already kicked off Old World Archaeology with talking about ancient aliens building the pyramids. HELL YEAH! I love pseudoarcheology (hence my last post about the Archaeo Fantasies podcast). It’s so ridiculous.
Masters of the ARCHAEOLOGY
BY THE HONOR OF ACADEMIA…I HAVE THE POWEEEERRRRR!!!!
I think I finally figured out what to write for my masters thesis. FINALLY! It’s been driving me nuts. If you know me then you know I am really impatient and I want to walk in the door in September knowing what the heck I’m going to write about for the next two years.
I’m still nailing down an exact research question, but I do know that I want to do some work with finding missing African American cemeteries, locating graves, identifying the individuals by historical record if possible, and using genealogical databases and records to notify descendants of the location of their ancestors.
I feel like this work is important because for too long the individuals buried in African American cemeteries were deliberately ignored and forgotten. They weren’t deemed important enough to be remembered. I think that is disrespectful, sad, and needs to be rectified.
I don’t really think of archaeology when I think of social justice. You probably don’t, either. Archaeology, though, is the physical story of our past and that includes minimalized and historically oppressed peoples. I’ve always said you can tell a lot about a culture from how they treat their dead. This holds true for many African American cemeteries and graves. People didn’t respect them in life, so why should their final resting places be treated with the same care and attention as Caucasian cemeteries? Their cemeteries were often unrecorded and lost, only to be mistakenly discovered when they are dug up. This happened in Florida recently when a high school discovered it was built on top of a black cemetery.
It is positively shameful.
I cannot be held responsible for the reprehensible things my ancestors did, but I believe that I am responsible for making it right as well as I can. I have the skills to bring awareness to this issue and to help give a name to the people who were deliberately forgotten. Every person who has walked this earth deserves the dignity of having their name and their resting place remembered. I want to research what archaeologists and communities are doing to correct the wrongdoings of the past.
This also ties into my interests in funerary archaeology, so complements the work I want to eventually do when I’m working on a PhD (see, more positive thinking). I’m thrilled that it’s all seemingly falling into place.
Now I just need to narrow it down to a research question, which is the hard part. This is when I feel less like She-Ra and more like Shaggy.
I’ll gladly give a whole box of Scooby Snacks to anyone who helps me out here.