It's been a while since I wrote the last post, and now I come back in English... "F*'u!" Would say a good friend. Anyway, you know I only write in English when I want English-speaking people to read it... As of course, most of them do not read Spanish or anything. The problem is that, as usual, the wrong people will read this, and this is not for them (or about them).
Today is a happy day for Public Archaeology, as there is a new journal in the street. The Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage (edited by Maney) is out online today (not free access, so no need to run), and it comes full of nice articles to add to our increasing library. As a freak I am, I couldn't wait to read one of them... "Maldita la hora".
My rant today (I always rant...) goes for the whole system. What is the point of writing in their language, and in their journals, when they don't give a shit anyway?
Every time I chat with non-anglo-saxon friends about publishing in archaeology, we have the same feeling that it is both too hard, and worthless for impact (real impact, not the indexes). We need to do it, as our evaluation agencies value more a couple of pages in a shitty foreign journal that a breakthrough in a national one. If we want to keep track in the academic race, signing papers in ISI journals is a 'must'. However, I am not that interested in the journal, I want impact, real impact. I want to be quoted and recognized as an equal in the international ground. Apparently those papers should give you that, but we are having very frustrating experiences in this field. It happened to me today, but it happens to lot's of colleagues everyday.
I have to say I feel confortable and 'loved' among many anglo-saxon friends (that is the point, they are friends). So this rant is not for them. They value your work and include you in the 'inner circle', participating of the party. I don't want to be misunderstood here. You guys rock!
My point is more abstract, and has to do with a system, with people that do not speak anything but English (even working in countries where English is not the first language) and complaining about your writing until you withdraw a paper. About these people writing about a country they don't even understand. About these people quoting references about other anglo-saxon colleagues working somewhere else, instead of the locals working where they work. Sounds familiar? Probably for those people this rant is a furious attack of an annoyed stupid child that didn't see his name in the references. Yes, it is. But this stupid child is fed up with a system where your mother tongue must be English and you can only have one surname. Is fed up of reading post-colonial articles that exude colonialism in every word. Is fed up of reading about community archaeology without communities. You know what? The first time I saw Rachael Kiddey bringing a homeless to talk, I fell in love. I criticize a lot Clare Smith for her WAC's management, but she actually brings communities to the debate. There are lots of anglo-saxon colleagues that do it great. I understand that you do not quote papers in a language you don't understand... I don't do it either, but I try to find anything there is out there to enrich my discurse. Maybe I fail some times, but I try. You don't even try... I understand you don't include locals in the paper, because they don't actually work with you. Involve them!
One of my goals when I started AP Journal was to give a voice in English to those projects and researchers that were doing great public archaeology outside the mainstream. We have over 1.500 individuals world wide reading it. Few quote it. I started the Public Archaeology Group to make a network of professionals working in public archaeology. Most people there are anglo-saxon. Do you give a shit? (talking to non-anglo-saxon colleagues now). We NEED to empower ourselves. In public archaeology and in archaeology in general. They don't have the truth (alone), or the monopoly of research. Maybe they have money, sources and a communicating language... Well, we NEED to take them. We NEED a revolution. If we need to work harder, let's work harder, but I don't want to see foreign names of scholars in their universities only. I want to see your names there. And I want you to quote foreign sources in foreign languages, so they learn there is more out there than English. For many years I have tried to be understanding in my references. No more!
If you don't give a shit about what I write, I won't give a shit whether you read it or not... We cannot surrender, and we MUST fight in their ground. If not, we will be lost in the woods of disregard.