SPEAKER EVENT: Mark Walker on “An Archaeology of California’s Migratory Workers.”

Join SCAS for a presentation by Mark Walker (Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University) on: “An Archaeology of California’s Migratory Workers.”

NOTE: This is a hybrid speaker event (in-person & streamed online via Zoom). We invite you to join us in-person at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA  95060, or via Zoom (see below for Zoom registration form)!

DATE: Thursday, November 9, 2023

TIME: 7:30 – 8:30 PM (Pacific)

***RSVP for Zoom by 6:30 PM on Thursday, November 9, 2023   *** Or show up to the Resource Center for Nonviolence by 7:30 to join us in-person!


Zoom Registration form

Once you have registered for the event using this form, a link and instructions for joining the virtual event via Zoom will be sent to that email address approximately 1 hour before the event starts.

California’s economic and demographic history is driven by transient and migrant labor. For all its historical importance, this labor force is little studied, in part because they are a difficult group to study–an archaeology of transient labor is an archaeology of poverty and homelessness. That we study the “people without history” is something of a truism in historical archaeology, but how do we study the “people without stuff”?  There are, however, traces of transient labor in the historical and archaeological records, but we need to know what we are looking for. In this talk I present a brief overview of transient labor, its archaeological signatures,  and how archaeologists  can  approach this topic. This does, unfortunately, entail dealing with one of the more heartily disliked features in historical archaeology–the can dump.

Mark Walker is an archaeologist at the Anthropological Studies Center of Sonoma State University and has over 20 years of experience in California archaeology. Prior to that he worked in Colorado on the Colorado Coalfield War Project, studying the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, and on a variety of sites on the East Coast.  He is interested in topics of class and labor history, and has published on historical memory and labor struggle, unionizing archaeological fieldworkers, teaching field schools, nativism among skilled railroad workers in 19th-century San Francisco,  and transient labor in California.

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