Three weeks ago, I was packing for the 2014 Southeastern Archaeology Conference. I was so excited. As a fairly fresh export from my PhD program, I couldn’t wait to see my friends from graduate school; to talk with the rest of my general cohort about new jobs, new kids, new projects; and to pick my colleagues’ brains about different research ideas. Admittedly, I was also anxious about presenting preliminary results from the SEAC Sexual Harassment Survey. How would people react? Would the findings make any difference?
In the end, my experience presenting these data with our survey team (led by the indefatigable Maureen Meyers) was overwhelmingly positive — well, as positive as presenting some hard truths about the state of field research safety in Southeastern archaeology can be. The Southeastern Archaeological Conference has admirably elected to make these results public on their website (in contrast to schemes for secret surveys of sexual harassment in the academy — gross). You can find them here.*
This is not the last you’ll hear about these data, but rather an initial heads up if you missed it in Greenville. In addition, this is an opportunity to give a belated but much deserved shout out to another event that occurred at our meeting, the first ever SEAC Gender Panel, coordinated by Eddie Henry and Sarah Baires on behalf of the Student Affairs Committee. This event — which will also be covered in more detail elsewhere (the SEAC Newsletter, etc.) — brought together a sizable contingent of our organization in an effort to call out gender bias and discrimination in Southeastern archaeology, from sexual harassment in the field (Maureen presented our survey results), to biases in academic publishing (courtesy of Dana Bardolph), to the expectations of service and mentoring experienced by different genders. That we came together to talk about these things at all is a huge step forward; Eddie, Sarah, and the rest of the Student Committee should be commended for making it happen. Even better, their effort seems to have kindled a fire about actually doing something to confront these myriad issues. I’m not sure exactly where this will lead, but my pre-SEAC anxiety has been replaced by post-SEAC hope. Onward.
*Here’s some citation information for the poster: Meyers, Maureen, Tony Boudreaux, Stephen Carmody, Victoria Dekle, Elizabeth Horton, and Alice Wright. 2014. What Happens in the Field? Preliminary Results of the SEAC Sexual Harassment Survey. Poster presented at 71st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Greenville, South Carolina.