Political Correctness in Archaeology and History

23rd November 2014

Hughes, JenniferPolitical correctness, what is it really? Is it a purely well intended mechanism for ending prejudices? Is it the means by which people can promote their own causes by unfairly labelling others as racist, bigoted or sexist? Or is a mix of the two? What does politically correct mean for academia? Should we assume that if something is politically correct, it is therefore right? Should using it be the automatic response in all discussions, debates and discourses? Some believe it to be invaluable and infallible, others the exact opposite. Indeed some have reacted so violently to the presence of political correctness in their disciplines that they have contributed to a book series called The Politically Incorrect Guides, covering subjects from Darwinism, Islam, and American History to Science and Global Warming. These books aim to defy convention and present their subjects without the sugar-coating of political correctness. What does political correctness mean for archaeology and historical investigation? Will it help or hinder the interpretation of the past? Many have issues with political correctness being applied to history. But what do you think? My poster will attempt to define political correctness, explain its origins, the benefits and the pitfalls. While also freely admitting my belief that there is a very real danger that political correctness has and continues to go too far. My aim here is to spur debate and discussion about the issue of political correctness in Australian archaeology.

Citation for this poster:

Hughes, J. 2014 Political Correctness in Archaeology and History. Poster Presented at the AAA/ASHA Annual Conference, 1-3 December, Cairns.

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