2. (Pre)Digital Equalities and Digital Archaeology

It has been 30 years since the publication of Conkey and Spector's (1984) seminal critique of androcentric bias in archaeological interpretation, and nearly as long since Gero's (1985) definitive research into the gendered composition of the profession. These feminist studies both grew out of, and continue to fold into, larger critical theoretical and intersectional approaches and, perturbingly, many of their original arguments remain relevant to the discipline today. In other words, inequities manifest in interpretations of the past and in present-day working environments (not to mention lack of reflexivity and situatedness with respect to such circumstances) continue to demarcate the field (e.g. Geller 2009; Tomášková 2011). Moreover and perhaps more worryingly, within the associated field of heritage studies, gender and intersectionality have barely been probed at all (Levy 2013; but see Grahn 2011 as one of the few exceptions; see Levin 2010 and Sandell and Nightingale 2012 for perspectives from museum studies). While the impact of feminism, as Conkey (2003) observes, may have been 'explosive' within the field of archaeology, it has not had much - if any - effect upon related fields of practice, and its influence is arguably largely abstract, as many longstanding, underlying disparities remain stubbornly present in the discipline. Indeed, from our perspective, it would seem that such disparities are now actually extending and migrating into the digital sphere.

Although the traditional stereotype of the archaeologist as male adventurer (Engelstadt 1991; Gero 1985, 342) has steadily been eroded, new forms of this division have been reconstructed in its place. Such imbalances have been partially forged through the valorisation of fieldwork (Moser 2007), with archaeologists whose primary speciality is representation or heritage practice (sub-disciplines identified by Conkey (2003) as particularly influenced by feminist thought) finding themselves alienated from, and then disparaged for their alienation from, the 'real' labour of fieldwork (also see Perry 2012). Of interest to us is the fact that digital archaeologists are perhaps among the more recent victims of such alienation, accused by their own colleagues of 'tak[ing] away that direct, hands-on contact with history, and replac[ing] it by images on a computer screen' (Beard 2014).

Apart from such continuing trends in the marginalisation of archaeological professionals, 'locate-the-woman' projects, described by Conkey and Gero (1997, 415) as a key part of early archaeological feminism, are currently being reproduced for a new online generation. These projects include explicit attempts both to 'find' women in the archaeological record, and to document female contributions to archaeological practice through biographical and autobiographical documentation (e.g. Breaking Ground; Trowelblazers). Such efforts can be transformative - in fact, they tend specifically to strive for empowerment and equality. But, at once, they also have the potential to be categorical, distancing, and reinforcing of hierarchies between individuals, leading us to recall Conkey and Gero's (1997, 425) words from nearly 20 years ago: 'We worry that the recent archaeological studies of gender have participated in narrowing the field rather than opening up our studies'. For example, given the participatory, inclusive ideals of the web, one might assume that these online projects would be equally authored by men, under-represented populations and non-English speakers. However, when taken alongside other important digitally mediated feminist endeavours in contemporary archaeology (e.g. the online forum Feminist Voices in Archaeology), their contributors still appear to be relatively exclusive, lacking diversity - or perhaps struggling to achieve diversity beyond Caucasian, Anglo-American, early career females. In this way, they arguably leave themselves vulnerable to the criticisms of homogeneity hurled at second-wave feminism.

Outside of archaeology, mainstream feminism is experiencing a comparable internet-fuelled amplification. Making use of the power of digital media to gather large amounts of detailed qualitative data, projects such as Everyday Sexism are cataloguing women's experiences, and using them as platforms to debate the limits of acceptable behaviour in day-to-day human interactions. These efforts align with earlier second-wave feminist concerns to foster equality and safety, but they also now harness the global reach of online media with the micro-political, individualising focus of third-wave feminism. In so doing, they generate power and impact from their combination of ICT with biographical recounting. By collecting so many descriptions of personalised incidents, in addition to gathering a large amount of evidence for the existence of serious and ongoing societal prejudice, Everyday Sexism and related projects attest to the massive scope of the problem while avoiding accusations of hyper-specificity tied to intersectional feminism. Such initiatives thus respond to the critique of models of feminism born of white, heterosexual experiences located in a particular social class (e.g. Hill Collins 1986; 1989; 1998; Crenshaw 1989; 1991; Mann and Kelley 1997) by aiming to incorporate individuality (Davis 2008). The result, we argue, is a fourth wave of feminist activism, building on previous critiques and largely enacted, organised and informed through the online sphere (Munro 2013). Its web-based dimension can itself be subject to judgement (e.g. Schuster's (2013) concern that it is the preserve of young, tech-savvy networkers, thereby creating generational divides) but its promise lies in its internationality, its combined discursive, activist, and revelatory/expository format, and its capacity to work outside/alongside traditional political structures.

This form of digitally mediated, personalised feminism, however, unconsciously incorporates approaches that archaeologists have long been exploring via the writing of entwined biographies of objects and persons. Examples include Spector's (1993) mobilisation of a bone awl to interrogate the life of a Wahpeton Dakota woman, and Wilkie's (2003) use of excavated ceramics, alcohol and soda bottles, and medicinal supplies from a 19th-century house in Mobile, Alabama, to consider the life of African-American midwife Lucretia Perryman. Such methodologies for assessing the situated and contextualised realities of individual lives, which incorporate their membership in (multiple) marginalised social groups, are a product of large datasets of material culture. It is these same strategies, focused on the use of mass data compiled at a qualitative level, that have latterly been adopted by Everyday Sexism and others to document contemporary lived experience and to galvanise a growing fourth wave of digital feminism that is firmly biographical.