Community collaboration has transformational potential in anthropology, introducing multiple viewpoints that guide research questions, strengthen analysis, and shape research products. Drawing on research with Chinese diasporic communities in California, Lowman will discuss how collaborator meetings, interviews, and oral histories conducted with the aid of archaeological and archival materials fostered dialogue about race, class, and gender roles in the past—and in the present. Artifacts and sites not only spark personal memories, but also offer tools and venues for heritage-building and community partners’ reimagined traditional practices today. Lowman's research demonstrates how collaboration leads to research products relevant to community partners and how sites, artifacts, and collections are part of ongoing stories and persistent traditional knowledge.
Christopher Lowman is a lecturer in the Departments of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. His research combines historical archaeology, museum anthropology, and ethnography to understand the history of science, colonialism, race, and gender since the 19th century, with a focus on California.