Voss, Barbara

Associate Professor
Ph.D. Berkeley, 2002

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 three 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; and (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. 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.

Link to Curriculum Vita.

Links to websites:
My Academica.edu page: http://stanford.academia.edu/BarbaraVoss
Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project: http://marketstreet.stanford.edu

Contact Information: 
Office Hour: By appointment
Selected Publications: 



The Archaeology of Colonialism: Intimate Encounters and Sexual Effects
(co-edited with El Casella),
Cambridge University Press


The Arch of Ethnogenesis book cover

The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis: Race, Sexuality, and Identity in Colonial San Francisco.
University of California Press.



The Archaeology of Chinese Immigrant and Chinese American Communities
(co-edited with Bryn Williams).
Thematic issue of the journal, Historical Archaeology 42(3).



Archaeologies of Sexuality
(co-edited with Robert A. Schmidt).
Routledge: London and New York.


Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2015   What’s new? Rethinking ethnogenesis in the archaeology of colonialism. American Antiquity 80(4):655-670.

2015   Towards a transpacific archaeology of the modern world. International Journal of Historical Archaeology. Online first: ISSN 1092-7697.

2015   The historical experience of labor: Archaeological contributions to interdisciplinary research on Chinese railroad workers. Historical Archaeology 49(1):4-23.

2012   Curation as research: a case study in orphaned and underreported archaeological collections. Archaeological Dialogues 19(2) 145–169.

2012   Status and ceramics in Spanish colonial archaeology. Historical Archaeology 46(2):39-54.

2010   Matter out of time: the paradox of the 'contemporary past'. Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 6(1):181-192.

2008   Gender, race, and labor in the archaeology of the Spanish colonial Americas. Current Anthropology 49(5):861-897.

2008   Poor people in silk shirts: dress and ethnogenesis in Spanish-colonial San Francisco. Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3):404-432.

2008   Sexuality studies in archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 37(1):317-336.

2008   with R. Allen. Overseas Chinese archaeology: historical foundations, current reflections, and new directions. Historical Archaeology 42(3):5-28.

2008   Between the household and the world-system: social collectivity and community agency in Overseas Chinese archaeology. Historical Archaeology 42(3):37-52.

2008   Domesticating imperialism: sexual politics and the archaeology of empire. American Anthropologist 110(2):191-203.

2007   Image, text, object: interpreting documents and artifacts as 'labors of representation'. Historical Archaeology 41(4):144-168.

2005   From Casta to Californio: social identity and the archaeology of culture contact. American Anthropologist 107(3):461-474.

2005   The archaeology of Overseas Chinese communities. World Archaeology 37(3):424-439.

2000   . Feminisms, queer theories, and the archaeological study of past sexualities. World Archaeology 32(2):180-192.