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Assistant professor presents research to archaeologists gathering

Research aimed at preventing sexual harassment from occurring during undergraduate field-based courses, specifically in the field of archeology, continues to gain national and international attention.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Carol Colaninno, PhD, research assistant professor in the SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach, presented on Improving Equity, Access and Professionalism at Archaeological Field Schools through the Prevention and Reduction of Sexual Harassment and Assault during the presidential session of the Society of American Archaeology’s annual meeting in April.

Colaninno is principal investigator of the project “Evidence-based Transformation of Undergraduate Field Schools to Promote Safety and Inclusivity,” funded by a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1937392).

Virtually presenting with Colaninno were her graduate assistant Clark H. Sturdevant, and co-researchers:

– Emily Beahm, PhD, research station archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey, University of Arkansas-Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Station
– Carl Drexler, PhD, research assistant professor with the University of Arkansas and station archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey – Southern Arkansas University research station
– Shawn Lambert, PhD, assistant professor at Mississippi State University and research fellow at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology

Based on a qualitative analysis of field school syllabi, the team offered six recommended policy changes for field school directors to consider adding to their syllabus. Additionally, they made recommendations for nine language changes.

“This virtual presentation offered an important opportunity to share our initial research findings and offer recommendations on policy changes and language adjustments that may support a sense of inclusivity among students,” Colaninno said. “There are steps that field directors can take to make field schools more welcoming and supportive to students, particularly those students who have been historically marginalized from the field. Several of these steps are relatively simple, but have the potential to make positive changes for how students experience and learn archaeology.”

The Society for American Archaeology is the primary professional organization for archaeologists practicing in the Americas. The society has approximately 7,500 members. Its annual meeting is nationally and internationally attended.

The presidential session included talks by the outgoing president of the Society for American Archaeology, as well as several other leading scholars conducting research into ways of making archaeology more inclusive.

For more information, visit siuestemcenter.org/safe-field-schools. Questions can be sent to safefieldschools@gmail.com.

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