Author: Amy Michael For the past year, I have been investigating the gendered landscape of the historic campus. University Archives keeps the scrapbooks made by past female students and we can find newspaper clippings detailing female exploits on campus, but until recently it has …
Search Results: gendered space
For the past several months, CAP fellow Amy Michael and I have been preparing a presentation for the UMass Amherst Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values conference about gendered landscapes on MSU’s campus. What is a gendered landscape, you ask? A landscape can be considered “gendered” …
The following is my first blog post for the Broad Art Museum Writing Residency program. We were given articles on “mediascape” and landscape and instructed to consider these works in conversation with Trevor Paglen’s artwork (referenced in my intro blog post about the residency) and our own research projects:
As a Biological Anthropology student interested in the prehistoric and recent past, I spend a lot of time thinking about how physical bodies (e.g. burials, ancestors, modern peoples) fit into a geographic and cultural landscape that persists through time. Paglen’s “experimental geography” (in addition to the assigned readings) has galvanized me to think about both archaeology and views of landscape in more sophisticated and creative ways.
Paglen has discussed his interest in “the line that separates vision from knowledge,’ acknowledging that material evidence does not often come to the forefront of his work (a particularly bold admission for this data-loving science student to read!). Rather, his images provide the foundation for a conversation, a questioning of the limits of knowledge, and an examination of how and why those limits came to be drawn. How can I, a student studying the prehistoric and recent past, apply these ideas to other cultures and peoples?
From an archaeologist’s perspective, these themes are present in prehistory in every complex hierarchical culture. However, the issue of material evidence is a very real and pressing concern; in fact, it is the end goal. I cannot imagine a field season in which I came home with no artifacts (no “evidence”). Jonathon Crary, writing in Techniques of the Observer (1990:32), stated that, “by the beginning of the nineteenth century the camera obscura is no longer synonymous with the production of truth and with an observer positioned to see truthfully.” Further, Crary wrote, “Vision can be privileged at different historic moments in ways that simply are not continuous with one another” (57).
Both Crary and Paglen touch on the reproduction of vision and its (potential) disassociation with truth and linear time; that is a truly revolutionary idea to me at this moment in my graduate program! Paglen’s work has made me begin to question how I operate as a scientist and how I envision research projects. Can I too explore the “line that separates vision from knowledge”? Perhaps. What I find most appealing is that Paglen does not provide us with a full story, but instead baits us and lets us debate, deconstruct, and deny or accept the photograph or installation.
Surveillance of, rather than documentation of, the landscape appears to be a main thrust of Paglen’s work. Access to the landscape (who gets it and how) is a resonant theme across time, geography, and culture; access and restriction are themes that crop up constantly in my archaeological research. The names, places, and cultures may change but the architecture of constraint occurs through time and space. Paglen seems interested in those structures and operations that are essentially hidden in plain sight; that is, their existence is not shrouded but their details are. This idea of conspicuous invisibility evokes a power dynamic that one is hard-pressed not to take personally: there are spaces in the country that, no matter your position, you do not have the right to physically access.
This residency program has made me reconsider the ways in which I think about studying landscape, especially at the historical level here on campus where we have written records and access to archaeological materials. While restriction and constraint have always been at the front of my mind in considering this gender research, I concede that I have thought often about these themes from only one perspective or dimension. Drawing on contemporary art and “experimental geography” to critically think about the organization of campus, in addition to the archaeological and historical materials available through CAP and University Archives, will help me to better form an anthropological inquiry into the female experience in the years past at Michigan State University.
Author: Amy Michael
Campus Archaeology at the Broad Art Museum: Exploring Gendered Spaces in a Conceptual Writing Residency Program
I am pleased to announce that I was accepted to the Spring 2015 Writing Residency program at the Broad Art Museum (support by the Department of English and the Graduate School as well). Five other graduate students from the departments of English, Film Studies, and …
As part of CAP’s ongoing project of understanding gendered spaces on campus, I thought it would be interesting to look at a building that was built with gendered space in mind. The Human Ecology building, which today houses departments like Human Development and Family Studies, …
Michigan State University began admitting women in 1870, just 15 years after the inception of the college. For some twenty-odd years, female students participated in the same courses as men with few exceptions. However, because there was no womens’ dormitory on campus, students were tasked with finding accommodations with permanent campus faculty or making the arduous trip from Lansing in stagecoaches. Following the systematic admission of women and implementation of a Womens’ Course near the turn of the century, as well as a dedicated space for female residents at Abbott Hall, enrollment of students increased. Before these changes, women were essentially an appendage on the college campus, making their archaeological presence somewhat ephemeral.
Historical records and photographs demonstrate that women were indeed present and accounted for on campus in those early years, but little archaeological evidence has been discovered that can be specifically linked to gendered space. Certainly social codes of the time, residential divisions between the sexes, and specialized curriculum resulted in areas on campus that could be wholly female domains. Why can we not find these gendered spaces in the archaeological record?
There are likely several answers to that question. First, many CAP excavations are guided not by a research question (e.g. “How did female students utilize the campus landscape?”) but more by necessity (i.e. ground is being disturbed by construction projects, so CAP is on hand to monitor for archaeologically sensitive materials being exposed or disturbed). Secondly, and more to the point, we are not sure where to dig to answer questions about women’s space on the historic campus. Enter: The University Archives!
As often discussed in CAP blog posts, the University Archives are a fantastic resource. We believe that memoirs composed by female alumni may offer some insight into how women used the landscape. Prior to 1900, women’s voices at Michigan Agricultural College were largely not present. Women’s memoirs and recollections of experiences on campus can help us to identify spaces that were uniquely female in addition to overlapping gendered space shared with males. A number of memoirs from the late 1800s illustrate that women often felt like (and were treated as) intruders or interlopers at their own college. We can reasonably assume that if female students were constrained socially on campus, their archaeological signature may be difficult to locate.
To address these questions, a predictive model may aid in determining where to dig to identify the material correlates of women’s space/experience/work. Predictive models rely on covariates to predict the probability of a particular outcome. The historic memoirs and scrapbooks compiled by women can be used to generate a list of locations on campus that were used exclusively by women, cooperatively by men and women, and exclusively by men. Narrowing down the locations on campus that were likely used by female students in the past will greatly improve future excavations driven by problem-oriented research questions.
Author: Amy Michael
Gender, History, Space, Artifacts, Use…Or “How I’m Attempting to Form a Cohesive Paper and Stop Collecting Data
This fall marks the beginning of my fourth year as a CAP researcher and I’m grateful and excited to be back on the team. However, this semester I am attempting to do something I’m incredibly poor at: arriving at a stopping point. This is the …
Alluring Artifacts: Interrogating Cosmetics and Bodily-Hygiene Products from the Late Post-War Campus
Cosmetic and hygiene-related products, perhaps due to the personal and often somewhat private nature of their use, are a deeply compelling class of artifacts. As commodities through which we tailor our appearance (or odor) and in turn shape our relationships and encounters with others, objects …
CULTURAL LANDSCAPES AND HERITAGE VALUES SYMPOSIUM
For details on the MSU Campus Archaeology Program Session, titled Universities as Examples of Cultural Heritage Planning, Understanding Landscapes, and Being Sustainable, see this blog post. All talks were presented at the Cultural Heritage and Landscape Values Conference. UMass Amherst Center for Heritage and Society. May 14, 2015.
Created Landscapes, Managing Heritage, Being Sustainable, and Learning from the Past: A Land Grant University and Its Campus Archaeology Program. Lynne Goldstein.
How the Michigan State University Campus Archaeology Program Has Examined Sustainability Through Time. Nicole Geske, Lisa Bright, and Amy Michael.
Understanding and Predicting Gendered Space on the Historic Campus at Michigan State University. Amy Michael and Josh Burbank.
What Does it Mean to be Sacred? Campus Archaeology, Authenticity and the Sacred Space of MSU. Katy Meyers Emery.
Reading between the Lines: How MSU Campus Archaeology Evaluates the Past. Blair Zaid and Kate Frederick.
PRESENTATIONS AND POSTERS
The Archaeology of Children on Michigan State University’s Campus. Jeff Burnett, Stacey L. Camp, and Autumn Painter, presented at presented the 2021 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, January 2021.
Translating Campus Archaeology Research into Public Outreach. written by Autumn Painter and presented by Jeff Burnett at the 2020 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, January 2020.
Campus as Laboratory: An Oral History of MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program. Autumn Painter and Alice Lynn McMichael, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference, October 2019.
Historic Cuisine On the Go: A Campus Archaeology Program and MSU Food Truck Collaboration. Autumn Painter and Susan Kooiman, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. October 5, 2018.
Archaeology Along the Banks of the Red Cedar: Summary of 2018 Riverbank Survey. Jeffrey Painter, Autumn Painter, and Jack Biggs, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. October 5, 2018.
Capturing Campus Cuisine: An 1860s Luncheon Reconstruction at MSU. Susan Kooiman and Autumn Painter, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. October 21, 2017.
Michigan State University’s Campus Archaeology Program: What We’ve Done and What We’ve Learned. Lynne Goldstein, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. November 6, 2015.
The Only Thing Constant is Change: Maintaining Continuity in the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. Bright, Lisa, Katy Meyers Emery, and Kate Frederick, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. November 6, 2015.
More Than Just Nightsoil: Preliminary Findings from Michigan State University’s First Privy. Bright, Lisa, Katy Meyers Emery and Amy Michaels, poster presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. November 6, 2015.
Digital Public Archaeology Reconsidered: Lessons from Michigan State University’s Campus Archaeology Program. Lynne Goldstein, presented at the Society for American Archaeology. April 17, 2015.
Social Media for Engagement, Communication, and Collaboration: The MSU Campus Archaeology Program. Katy Meyers and Lynne Goldstein. Invited presentation for the Midwest Historic Archaeology Conference. September 28, 2014.
The Heart of MSU’s Campus: Investigation of MSU’s Changing Landscape, Identity and Priorities. 2013, Sabrina Perlman and Katy Meyers, poster presented at the MSU Graduate Academic Conference, East Lansing, MI.
Teaching Archaeology via Campus Archaeology: What Have We Learned? Lynne Goldstein, presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference, October 18, 2012.
“Green from the Beginning”: Documenting Sustainability Practices Through Time at MSU. 2012, Amy Michaels and Jen Bengston, poster presented at MSU Graduate Academic Conference, East Lansing, MI.
Dusting off our Past: Campus Archaeology and Research Methods. 2012, Kristin Sewell, Katy Meyers, and Lynne Goldstein, poster presented at MSU Graduate Academic Conference, East Lansing, MI.
What’s for Supper? Food Preference and Availablity at the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, 2011, Grace Krause, poster presented at Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference. East Lansing, Michigan.
Teaching Archaeology and Community Engagement Through Blogging: A Public Archaeology Field School Project at Michigan State University, 2011, Terry P. Brock, presented at Society for American Archaeology Conference, Sacramento, California.
Social Media as Public Archaeology, 2011, Terry P. Brock and Sarah Nohe presented at Society for American Archaeology Conference, Sacramento, California.
Connecting Campus to Campus Archaeology: Using Digital Social Media for Community Outreach and Engagement, 2010, Terry P. Brock and Lynne Goldstein, Poster presented at the Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Amelia Island, Florida.
Connecting Campus to Archaeology: Using Digital Social Media for Community Outreach and Engagement. Terry P. Brock and Lynne Goldstein.
Department of Anthropology Undergraduate Research Symposium
A Corner Through the Ages: The Archaeology of the Toolan Family Homestead. Poster presented by Alexis Cupp and Reid Ellefson-Frank.
University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum
Analyzing Construction Nails Excavated from MSU’s Station Terrace Site. Poster presented by Kaleigh Perry.
Sustainability at the Brody Landfill. Poster presented by Desirée Quinn.
Learning from Landfills. Poster presented by Cooper Duda.Testing Seed Longevity via MSU Campus Archaeology. Applying Beal’s Method to Historic Raspberry Seeds. Oral presentation by Rebecca Albert.
Visualizing MSU’s Campus Archaeology Excavations with Geographic Information Systems. Poster presented by Jasmine Smith.
Glass from the Past: Glass Laboratory Equipment Unearthed on MSU’s Campus. Poster presented by Jasmine Smith.
Making My Mark at MSU: Maker’s Marks. Poster presented by Pa Vang
Making Scents Of The Past. Poster presented by Alissa Lyon
This May, the Campus Archaeology fellows will be presenting our research projects at the interdisciplinary Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values conference held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The goal of this conference is to bring together scholars from multiple fields in order to discuss …