Anthropology Research Works

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    Radical Hope: Re-Contextualizing Oral Histories from Deindustrialized Mining Communities
    (International Journal of Heritage Studies, 2024) Paul A. Shackel
    The anthracite coal mining landscape of northeastern Pennsylvania is in ruin, a by-product of two centuries of unchecked capitalism. Much of the land is stripped of its timber and surface mines lay abandoned. The industry began its decline after WWI and virtually collapsed during the post-WWII era. Waste piles of coal litter the landscape, and the streams and rivers are considered dead because of the minerals and high acid content of water draining from abandoned mines. Many scholars have written about the extreme work conditions the coal workers faced, the demise of the coal industry, and the impact of deindustrialization on the region’s people. Often overlooked is how members of the mining communities had a radical hope. Radical hope helps oppressed people to see that another condition and another world is possible, although not guaranteed. Re-examining oral histories from the anthracite region recorded in the 1970s, when the industry was in its great decline, demonstrates how these mining communities anticipated a future good, understanding the struggle to attain it.
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    Introduction: The Past Made Public
    (Oxford University Press, 2022) Paul A. Shackel
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    Past and Present: Immigration and Museum Exhibitions in the Anthracite Coal Region
    (Museum Anthropology, 2024) Aryn Neurock Schriner; Paul A. Shackel; Authors
    Northeastern Pennsylvania was home to the anthracite coal industry for about two centuries. The area was originally settled by various waves of immigrants, first from Western, then Southern and Eastern Europe. The new immigrant miners faced many forms of prejudice and were exploited in a system of unchecked capitalism. They were racialized and placed at the bottom of the job hierarchy. Some capitalists did not consider them human and, therefore, not deserving of safe working conditions, decent housing, and equal pay. At the turn of the twenty-first century, a new wave of Hispanic immigrants from the Caribbean, Mexico, and South and Central America entered the region to work mainly in low-paying fulfillment center jobs. Their arrival is being met with various forms of xenophobia, much like the immigrant miners faced over a century ago. The online exhibition “We Are Anthracite,” hosted by the Anthracite Heritage Museum, addresses the call from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for museums to be civically engaged, build social capital and connecting new populations to place. The exhibition bridges the experiences between the past coal mining communities and new Hispanic immigrants. The state operated museum hosting this exhibition lends validity to the new immigrants’ place in this region, creating a narrative that their experiences are similar to the region’s inhabitants’ ancestors. By connecting common experiences, past and present, we are creating a form of bridging social capital that connects these different populations. While the northeastern Pennsylvania immigrant story is not well-known, it is rich and complex, like many Rust Belt communities undergoing similar major demographic shifts.
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    Talking Culture: Women in the production of community in the northwest Amazon
    (American Anthropologist, 2003) Chernela, Janet
    Taking the Northwest Amazon of Brazil as its example, this article argues for the analytic concept of a “speech culture,” combining, but heuristically separating, speech practice and language ideology. In the Northwest Amazon, an ideology of language establishes an equivalence between linguistic performance and descent group belonging. In contrast to the fixed, normative notions of groupness, this article explores the dynamic construction of social relations through women’s ritualized wept greeting speech. In these interactions, linguistic differentiation is countered by the experience of a single speech act based upon shared principles with organized participation in and by different linguistic codes. Through the collaborative nature of the speech act a common ground is produced and revealed. The community in this sense emerges as a cultural artifact whose production is largely the work of women. Through these speech interactions—of similar sentiments and meanings across different linguistic codes—women of the Northwest Amazon construct a community of talk.
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    An Ecolabel for the World Heritage Brand? Developing a Climate Communication Recognition Scheme for Heritage Sites
    (MDPI, 2020-03-05) Samuels, Kathryn Lafrenz; Platts, Ellen J.
    This study develops a climate communication recognition scheme (CCRS) for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites (WHS), in order to explore the communicative power of heritage to mobilize stakeholders around climate change. We present this scheme with the aim to influence site management and tourist decision-making by increasing climate awareness at heritage sites and among visitors and encouraging the incorporation of carbon management into heritage site management. Given the deficits and dysfunction in international governance for climate mitigation and inspired by transnational environmental governance tools such as ecolabels and environmental product information schemes, we offer “climate communication recognition schemes” as a corollary tool for transnational climate governance and communication. We assess and develop four dimensions for the CCRS, featuring 50 WHS: carbon footprint analysis, narrative potential, sustainability practices, and the impacts of climate change on heritage resources. In our development of a CCRS, this study builds on the “branding” value and recognition of UNESCO World Heritage, set against the backdrop of increasing tourism—including the projected doubling of international air travel in the next 15–20 years—and the implications of this growth for climate change. The CCRS, titled Climate Footprints of Heritage Tourism, is available online as an ArcGIS StoryMap.
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    Archaeology at the Talbot County Women's Club Lecture
    (2013) Leone, Mark P.; Woehlke, Stefan; Jenkins, Tracy
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    Twenty-Five Years of Archaeology in Annapolis: A Synthesis
    (2008-06-09) Leone, Mark P.; Cochran, Matthew D.; Palus, Matthew M.
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    ADAN Symposium
    (2012-01-03) Leone, Mark P.
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    Capital deprivation, assets, and the Universal Child Allowance for Social Protection in a Paraná slum, Argentina
    (Wiley, 2022-12-20) Dapuez, Andrés
    In this article, I describe a case in which a mother and her son, while discussing what they perceive to be the purpose of the Argentinian conditional cash transfer programme known as the ‘Universal Child Allowance for Social Protection’, also project different economic returns for the son's future. The decisions they make contradict the ultimate purpose of this policy: to accumulate human capital in the recipient through formal education. The young man's abandonment of secondary school and his entry into the informal labour market trigger different reflections on his future for mother and son. Despite the fact that both project future returns for investing the money, the mother, acting as administrator of the programme, reproduces state-driven processes of capital deprivation at the expense of her son's human capital.
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    Anthracite Memories: Semantic Tagging and Coal Mining Oral Histories
    (2023) Paul A. Shackel
    Oral histories are a critical source of information about lived experiences of past events. They have been analyzed both for their form – linguistically as texts, performances, and expressive accounts – and their content for understanding historic events and personal experiences. Here we focus on sentiment analysis approaches frequently applied to big data research questions, but less often utilized by anthropologists working with oral histories. Oral histories collected half a century ago in the anthracite mining communities of northeastern Pennsylvania are examined by considering methodological and historical questions. This project explores how oral history and data science might be productively combined to understand these now historic communities' everyday lives and working conditions. Bakhtin's (1981) concept of chronotope helps us understand the memory of these anthracite coal mining communities' daily life and working conditions.
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    Remembering Labor Conflict as an American Battlefield
    (George Wright Sociey, 2023-09-15) Paul A. Shackel; Author
    Anthracite coal extraction developed in northeastern Pennsylvania during the late 18th century, and through the early 20th century the industry was supported by new waves of immigration. New immigrant workers faced various forms of structural racism, often being underpaid, assigned the toughest jobs, and provided substandard housing. In 1897, as 400 men marched on a public road with the goal of closing a company mine, a sheriff and his posse fired upon them, killing 19. An additional six men died a few days later of gunshot wounds. While the incident, known as the Lattimer Massacre, was noted as one of the most tragic labor strikes in US history, the event faded from national public memory within a few decades. A type of historical amnesia settled in until 75 years later when the community and labor organizations erected a memorial near the site. Although annual commemorations are now held at the site, the Lattimer Massacre remains absent from textbooks and it is still not part of national public memory. Over the past two decades, as the Hispanic population has increased significantly in northeastern Pennsylvania, so, too, have anti-immigrant attitudes increased in the US. Now more than ever we need to remember the history of racism and xenophobia directed at immigrant laborers
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    Global Climate Change and UNESCO World Heritage
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-03-29) Samuels, Kathryn Lafrenz; Platts, Ellen J.
    This article considers the fiftieth anniversary of the 1972 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Convention in light of climate change, offering a state of the field review of climate responses for World Heritage sites (WHS). Opening with a brief review of UNESCO World Heritage activities around climate change, we then detail the primary impacts and risks that climate change pose for WHS and the reporting and monitoring systems in place to document and track these impacts. Looking forward, we examine the most promising pathways for World Heritage to advance in the domains of climate mitigation, adaptation, climate communication, and climate action.
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    The Toxic Anthracite = Toxic Heritage
    (Taylor & Francis, 2023-07-17) Paul A. Shackel
    The anthracite coal industry in northeastern Pennsylvania developed in the late eighteenth century and helped ignite the industrial revolution in the following century. The industry reached its peak during the WWI era and then began its slow, long, precipitous decline. Open-pit and underground mining impacted a large portion of the region, scarring vast swaths of landscapes. The ground waters that flow into tributaries and rivers are poisoned with high levels of metals and high acid content. While much of the region is being slowly depopulated, the area has found different and conflicting ways to remember this toxic heritage. Early forms of nostalgia focus on the once-powerful industry. More recent forms of nostalgia highlight the struggles of the working class to survive. Other forms focus on remembering how exploited workers rebelled against capital. The toxic anthracite has led to different forms of toxic heritage.
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    ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF SITE 36LU323, Lower Street Double, Pardeesville, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
    (University of Maryland, 2023) Jones, Sean; Westmont, V. Camille; Shackel, Paul
    The University of Maryland Anthracite Heritage Program's summer archaeological field methods course (ANTH496) was taught at Pardeesville, Hazle Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (previously Lattimer Village No.2) from May through July 2014. The field school identified and excavated two previously undocumented archaeology sites dating between the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, removing material culture related to the lives of immigrant coal miners and their families. Sites 36LU323 (Lower Street Double) and 36LU321 (Yanac House) were investigated. The following report outlines the Phase I and II archaeological investigations of site 36LU323. All archaeological investigations, review, curation, and reporting were completed in accordance with The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Guidelines for Archaeological Investigations in Pennsylvania, as amended. The goal of this investigation was to (1) mitigate the loss of material culture due to the hazardous slumping of a privy feature, (2) assess the integrity of archaeological deposits at the site, and (3) gather material cultural evidence to aid in the research themes related to the lives of immigrant labors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Lower Street Double House site consisted of the original coal company-constructed doubletenancy house. The Pardee Brothers and Company constructed the house in Lattimer Village No.2. The household was rented until the coal company's bankruptcy in the 1930s when the occupants, the Yannuzzi family purchased the tenant house. The field school investigated site 36LU323 using Phase II archaeological methodology. Three Test Units of varying sizes (5 ft. x 10 ft. and 3 ft. x 3 ft.) labeled as Test Units 7, 11, and 12 were excavated. Test unit 7 was the most prominent of those excavated and contained Feature 11, an early 20th-century privy. Approximately 1,483 artifacts were recovered from the Lower Street Double site. Most of the material culture recovered from this investigation was from a 5 ft. x 10 ft. early 20th-century privy. All diagnostic artifacts found within the site come from this feature. Despite the small sample size of the Lower Street Double site, the significance of the material culture record lends a further view into the lives of exploited labor and the structural violence found within the anthracite coal industry. Moreover, the Lower Street Double site provides a contemporaneous privy to the Yanac House site (36LU321), providing research potential for analyzing ethnic diversity within Lattimer No. 2. Analysis of the Lower Street Double artifact assemblage is guided by research themes to provide a coherent framework for understanding the occupation and lifestyle of household residents. The research themes include (1) An analysis of consumer access to commodities in Lattimer No. 2, (2) how household identity is present in choices of material culture, and (3) how structural violence committed against the labor force may have led to serious health defects.
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    Text Mining Oral Histories in Historical Archaeology
    (International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 2023-01-13) Brown, Madeline; Shackel, Paul
    Advances in text mining and natural language processing methodologies have the potential to productively inform historical archaeology and oral history research. However, text mining methods are largely developed in the context of contemporary big data and publicly available texts, limiting the applicability of these tools in the context of historical and archaeological interpretation. Given the ability of text analysis to efficiently process and analyze large volumes of data, the potential for such tools to meaningfully inform historical archaeological research is significant, particularly for working with digitized data repositories or lengthy texts. Using oral histories recorded about a half-century ago from the anthracite coal mining region of Pennsylvania, USA, we discuss recent methodological developments in text analysis methodologies. We suggest future pathways to bridge the gap between generalized text mining methods and the particular needs of working with historical and place-based texts.
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    (2022-08) Jones, Sean; Shackel, Paul
    The University of Maryland Anthracite Heritage Program summer archaeological field methods course (ANTH496) was taught in Lattimer, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (previously Lattimer Village No.1). From May 29th to July 6th of 2012, the previously undocumented Canal Street site (36LU312) was investigated. The following report outlines the Phase I and II archaeological investigations at the Canal Street Site. All archaeological review, curation, and writing were completed in accordance with The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commissions Guidelines for Archaeological Investigations in Pennsylvania as amended. Site 36LU312 consisted of coal company-constructed houses. From as early as 1878, up to nine structures of varying sizes and shapes lined the Canal Street road, and over the course of the following seven decades, the structures in this area changed size and shape as additional outbuildings, we added and subtracted to meet the needs of their occupants. The Canal Street section of Lattimer No.1 consisted of an ethnic enclave of primary Slavic and Italian immigrants; this ethnic diversity in the northeast area of town provides a unique perspective in an otherwise ethnically segregated company town. The objective of this work was to assess the integrity of archaeological deposits at the sites to aid in research themes related to the lives of 19th- and 20th-century immigrants and an examination of ethnic enclaves in patch-towns. These research themes include land usage, access to commodities, household demographics, and structural violence. The field school investigations included historical research and excavation of shovel test pits and test units of varying sizes. In total, 32 shovel test pits (STPs) and 13 test units were excavated. The site yielded 9,992 artifacts, 6% of which were ceramics, 35% of which were glass, and 49% of which were metal. A minimum of 76 ceramic and glass vessels were identified. Analysis of the Canal Street artifact assemblage is guided by research themes to provide a coherent framework of understanding the occupation and lifestyle of household residents. The research themes include: (1) a spatial analysis of land usage, (2) an analysis of residents' access to commodities and the effects of such access, (3) an analysis of household and neighborhood demographics, (4) and a discussion about structural violence. The large portion of the material culture recovered from these investigations consisted of modern materials or non-diagnostic materials. The diagnostic materials recovered from the Canal Street assemblage provide a framework that can be used as a model in the analysis of ethnical diverse company towns.