Barbara L. Voss
I am a historical archaeologist who studies the dynamics and outcomes of transnational cultural encounters: How did diverse groups of people, who previously had little knowledge of each other, navigate the challenges and opportunities of abrupt and sustained interactions caused by colonialism, conflict, and migration? I approach this question through fine-grained, site-specific investigations coupled with broad-scale comparative and collaborative research programs. My earlier work investigated Spanish colonization of the Americas, an area of research that I continue to be involved in. My current research focuses on 19th century migration from southern China, which I am investigating through four interrelated projects: (1) the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project (2002-present), a community-based research program developed to study and interpret the history and archaeology of San Jose’s first Chinese community; (2) the interdisciplinary Chinese Railroad Workers of North America Project (2012-present), for which I serve as Director of Archaeology; (3) Research Cooperation on Home Cultures of 19th Century Overseas Chinese, a collaboration with Wuyi University to develop ethnohistoric and archaeological research on qiaoxiang (home villages) in Kaiping County, Guangdong; and (4) the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project (2018-present), a study of historic Chinese workers’ residences on Stanford campus lands. Throughout, my research is guided by a deep commitment to public archaeology and collaborative research. Additionally, I continue to work to generate a productive dialogue between queer studies and archaeology, and to develop rigorous methodologies that support the study of sexuality and gender through archaeological evidence.