The Uber-Archaeologist: Art, GIS and the male gaze revisited

Wickstead, Helen (2009) The Uber-Archaeologist: Art, GIS and the male gaze revisited. Journal of Social Archaeology, 9(2), pp. 249-271.


This article emerges from collaboration with visual artist Janet Hodgson on excavations around Stonehenge. Experiencing Hodgson at work led me to re-examine how archaeologists think about visuality, particularly in criticism of the male gaze. Ideas of the gaze have significantly influenced the directions taken in studies of landscape and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) over the last 15 years. In this article I expand on and develop theoretical debate surrounding the gaze, using Hodgson’s practice to illustrate my argument. I argue for a renewed critique of the politics of vision and cartographic method that assimilates recent theoretical developments. I review accounts of the gaze, and discuss recent theories of knowledge as applied to mapping and GIS. I suggest that new theories have the potential to move the gaze critique towards further exploration of the contextual complexities of visualities. I use Hodgson’s artistic projects at Stonehenge to illustrate this complexity.

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