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Who Writes about Archaeology? An Intersectional Study of Authorship in Archaeological Journals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2020

Laura E. Heath-Stout*
Department of Anthropology, Rice University, PO Box 1892, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX77005, USA
(, corresponding author)


Since the 1980s, activist archaeologists have used quantitative studies of journal authorship to show that the demographics of archaeological knowledge production are homogeneous. This literature, however, focuses almost exclusively on the gender of archaeologists, without deeply engaging with other forms of identity or adequately addressing the methodological limitations of assigning binary gender identifications based on first names. This paper rectifies these limitations through an intersectional study of inequities in academic archaeological publications by presenting the results of a survey of authors who published in 21 archaeology journals over a 10-year period (2007–2016). This survey asked them to provide their self-identifications in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. The results demonstrate that although there has been an influx of women archaeologists in recent decades, we have not yet reached gender parity. They also show that because many women archaeologists are cisgender, white, and heterosexual, the discipline's knowledge producers remain relatively homogeneous. Furthermore, although there is demographic variation between journals, there is a strong correlation between journal prestige and the percentage of authors who are straight, white, cisgender men. This intersectional study of journal authorship demographics provides a comprehensive perspective on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the discipline of archaeology.

Desde la década de 1980, varios arqueólogos activistas han empleado estudios cuantitativos sobre la autoría en revistas para mostrar la homogeneidad demográfica en la producción de conocimiento arqueológico. Sin embargo, estos estudios se centran de manera casi exclusiva en el género de los arqueólogos, sin explorar otras formas identitarias ni abordar adecuadamente las limitaciones metodológicas que resultan de asignar identificaciones binarias de género basadas en los nombres. En este artículo intento superar estas limitaciones a través de un estudio interseccional de las desigualdades en las publicaciones académicas arqueológicas. Presento los resultados de una encuesta realizada entre arqueólogos publicados en 21 revistas de arqueología distintas durante un periodo de diez años (2007–2016), en la que se les solicitaban sus autoidentificaciones en relación al género, raza o etnicidad y orientación sexual. Los resultados demuestran que, aunque muchas mujeres se han incorporado a la disciplina recientemente, todavía no hemos alcanzado la paridad de género y, debido a que muchas arqueólogas son cisgénero, blancas y heterosexuales, los productores de conocimiento en la disciplina siguen siendo relativamente homogéneos. Además, aunque hay cierta variación demográfica entre revistas, hay una fuerte correlación entre el prestigio de la revista y el porcentaje de autores que son hombres cisgénero, blancos y heterosexuales. El presente estudio interseccional sobre las características demográficas de los autores publicados en revistas aporta una perspectiva exhaustiva sobre cuestiones de diversidad, equidad e inclusión en la disciplina de la arqueología.

Copyright © 2020 by the Society for American Archaeology

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