Machmer 211

Research Interests

African diaspora theory, Black Feminist theory, African American expressive and material culture, historical archaeology, African diaspora archaeology, critical heritage studies, cultural landscapes. North America & Caribbean

Professional Biography

I am a Professor of Anthropology at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My BA in History & Secondary Education is from Virginia State University, and my MA in History is from The College of William and Mary., I hold a Ph.D. in Anthropology and am a proud graduate of the African Diaspora Program in Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin. My research focuses on the connections of race, gender, class, and sexuality, during slavery and post-emancipation. My work has included interpreting captive African domestic spaces at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee; School segregation in 19th century Boston; the Millars Plantation site in the Bahamas, and the Burghardt family homestead, also known as the W.E.B Du Bois Boyhood Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I am currently the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst, which was established to engage audiences in discussions and scholarship of W. E. B. Du Bois and related archival collections. The Du Bois Center also raises awareness and promotes scholarship around issues involving race, labor, and social injustice throughout the world. I consider myself both a scholar and activist. My research primarily focuses on community-based archaeology, which allows me to see the classroom as a space to engage contemporary issues with a sensibility of the past. In other words, teaching about "a past that is not past." My publications include the book, Black Feminist Archaeology (2011), and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America, co-edited with Britt Russert (2019). My most recent work is to navigate the ways that archaeological theory and materiality impacts and informs the ways we understand systemic racism in the U. S. and abroad.