Event: Pizza Talk: "Elizabeth Deuel's Letter: Sexual Politics in the Archives of Archaeology"

Date & Time

May 9, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson
Phone 310-825-4169


Fowler A222

Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. James Snead, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Cal State University, Northridge

In 1913 Elizabeth Deuel, a student of archaeology and resident of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to a friend describing a situation that modern readers can only interpret as sexual harassment. Coded with the discretion of the age, her brief account nonetheless resonates to modern readers conscious of the complex history of this topic in the field of archaeology.

The Deuel letter is an example of scattered material in archaeological archives that documents power relationships within communities of interest in American archaeology at the turn of the last century. Her participation and subsequent activities also brought her into contact with several of the principal archaeological figures in the United States, providing considerable insight into the sexual politics of the era. This presentation examines the Deuel case, with reference to the "relevance" of the history of archaeology to issues of considerable relevance in archaeological practice.