Girl Archaeologist recounts Alice Kehoe’s life, begun in an era very different from the twenty-first century in which she retired as an honored elder archaeologist. She persisted against entrenched patriarchy in her childhood, at Harvard University, and as she did fieldwork with her husband in the northern plains. A senior male professor attempted to quash Kehoe’s career by raping her. Her Harvard professors refused to allow her to write a dissertation in archaeology. Universities paid her less than her male counterparts. Her husband refused to participate in housework or childcare.
Working in archaeology and in the histories of American First Nations, Kehoe published a series of groundbreaking books and articles. Although she was denied a conventional career, through her unconventional breadth of research and her empathy with First Nations people she gained a wide circle of collaborators and colleagues. Throughout her career Kehoe found and fostered a sisterhood of feminists—strong, bright women archaeologists, anthropologists, and ethnohistorians who have been essential to the field.
Girl Archaeologist is the story of how one woman pursued a professional career in a male-dominated field during a time of great change in American middle-class expectations for women.
List of Illustrations Preface 1. Born into a Man’s World 2. Launched into Archaeology, Where Sexism Ruled 3. Achieving the MRS. and Fieldwork, with Toddlers 4. “Benign Neglect” at Harvard 5. Academia 6. Trolls Appear 7. Life on My Own 8. My Friends Out on the Tundra with Me 9. Issues with Limits 10. Applause and Reward Epilogue: Where Was I When Kennedy Was Shot? Acknowledgments Appendix: Books I Have Written and Why
Alice Beck Kehoe is a professor of anthropology emeritus at Marquette University. She is the author or editor of twenty books, including North American Indians: A Comprehensive Account, The Land of Prehistory: A Critical History of American Archaeology, and North America Before the European Invasions.
“Kehoe has seen archaeology grow and change over sixty years—both technically and politically. While women in positions of prestige and influence were rare in the 1960s, today they are common. Kehoe’s story documents what it took to move the profession in that direction. It is an inspiration to all.”—American Archaeology
“Books such as Girl Archaeologist are not only a reflection of how the field of archaeology has changed, but also provide space to examine the profession at the current moment.”—Historical Archaeology
“Kehoe’s gift for friendship shines in her enduring relationships with students, colleagues, and her Native teachers. Hers is an accessible, absorbing book suitable for all readers and for a variety of courses in women’s studies, cultural anthropology, and archaeology.”—R. Berleant-Schiller, Choice
"Alice is not one to "shut up and be quiet." She crafted a career, published sixteen books and four co-edited collections, and was honored for her enduring work as a Plains archaeologist. Her life as a "girl archaeologist" began in an era when there were few women in the field, and most faced the same kinds of discrimination and serious roadblocks. Now that there are many more successful women archaeologists, it is important to remember this grim history."—Louise Lamphere, Journal of Anthropological Research
“Girl Archaeologist is everything Alice Beck Kehoe is—witty and irreverent while at the same time touching, honest, and open. . . . This book is necessary for anyone interested in archaeology’s less-than-welcoming history, especially in light of today’s calls for social justice, inclusion, and equity.”—Joe Watkins, president of the Society for American Archaeology, 2019–21
“Piercing, funny, and heartbreaking all at once, the story of Kehoe’s grit and perseverance in the face of rampant sexism will keep you glued.”—Becky Cooper, author of We Keep the Dead Close
“Alice Kehoe is a living legend in archaeology. . . . She digs deep with self-reflection and searing honesty to survey her struggles and breakthrough achievements. . . . She persevered through it all with unbroken tenacity.”—Chip Colwell, author of Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits