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My research explored the stakes of gendered, colonial, and racial inequalities within academic collaborations between the US and Latin America.
My doctoral dissertation, Uneven Fields: Transnational Expertise and the Practice of Andean Archaeology (pdf), follows collaborations between archaeologists from the US, Canada, Chile, and Bolivia who excavate in the Bolivian Andes and Chilean Tarapacá desert.
The main focus of this work was on relationships between archaeologists from North and South America. I argued that South American archaeologists are not taken seriously by their US and Canadian colleagues; their university degrees are assumed to by less vigorous, their fieldwork lower standard, and their theory more derivative. The expertise of South American archaeologists and archaeological communities is just not recognized by their North American colleagues.
US archaeologists are not necessarily discriminating against non-US colleagues intentionally; but rather, they unthinkingly assume their ways of doing things are 'objectively' correct, and interpret any deviation from that norm as a failing. In Uneven Fields I outlined how this plays out, by looking at 1) the structural inequalities built into how universities are conceptualized and organized in North and South America, and 2) the culture of 'performative informality' in archaeology specifically.
In 2020 I published a piece in American Anthropologist that explored how the same culture of performative informality also functions within US academic communities to hold back women and people from working class backgrounds.
Epistemology and Methodology
I have an on-going interest in methodology and epistemology in anthropology; specifically how knowledge-making practices in both ethnography and archaeology are embodied, in that they are reliant on the tacit and affective skills of individual scientists whose bodies become tools.
My work in this area includes a paper on how British archaeologists (including field archaeologists, museum curators, forensic anthropologists, and osteoarchaeologists) conceptualize human remains as ‘people’ or ‘objects’.
Additionally, I have published two pieces to date on archaeological epistemology in Andean Archaeology; one of which compares Andean Archaeology to British Archaeology, the second looks at the political and epistemological significance of employing indigenous field technicians in Bolivia.
Museum Studies Research
I undertook a series of smaller research projects exploring and comparing science, art, and archaeology museums. These projects explored museums as sites where knowledge is disseminated to non-academic audiences.
I was also interested in the parallel history of museums and universities, as places where the humanistic, social, and natural sciences create and share knowledge, and the shifting role of material objects themselves in this process.