2021 Curl Lecture by Dr Rachel Crellin, University of Leicester
Posthumanist feminist archaeology: a becoming
This paper explores the potential of posthumanist feminism in archaeology. I argue that our discipline, our present world, and our futures all require a new theoretical approach to the study of the past. Archaeology, rooted in colonialism and beset with inequalities needs a new approach that makes space for more diverse archaeologists and more different voices. Our world is falling headlong into a climate crisis whilst being marked by increasingly volatile politics that entangle discrimination, xenophobia and patriarchy: our futures can seem bleak. In this paper I suggest that rather than dwell in the negative that surrounds us we can instead seize potential of archaeology to contribute to the building of our futures. I argue that the radical potential of archaeology lies not in its ability to offer us cautionary tales about other moments in the past when climates, politics or approaches to difference have shifted but instead in its ability to allow us to think differently. I argue that an archaeology rooted in posthumanist feminism provides us with tools to help build a more diverse discipline, to tell more varied, multiple, and nuanced stories about the past, to approach difference in a new way, and to allow us to rethink the human and its place in the world.