Colonial Institutions and Their Enduring Material Aftermaths

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

The role of institutions and the experience of institutional life have received significant attention from historical archaeologists for over the past decade. Institutions ‘in their many and varied forms ‘have played important roles in regulating society and furthering the aims of many colonial/imperial projects. Their remnants, ‘be they material and/or ideological’, often persist long after independence. Drawing on Ann Laura Stoler’s concept of ‘Imperial Debris (2008) we would like to invite papers that offer an archaeological perspective on institutions in colonial and imperial contexts. This can include consideration of their enduring aftermaths, as well as exploring how the colonial experience of institutionalisation has ‘acted back’ on the imperial heartland. We aim to provoke debate, discussion and synthesis between scholars utilising both singular and comparative perspectives and welcome submission from any geographical context, 1500 to ‘present.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • Building Ideas: lunatic asylum reform in the British Isles, 1815-1845 (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Fennelly.

    At the end of the eighteenth century, lunatic asylum reform became a popular topic amongst physicians, philanthropists, politicians and architects, culminating in a series of Acts to reform lunacy provision in the British Isles. This paper will outline the features of lunatic asylum architecture which were drawn from these ideas of improvement and reform, the application of these ideas in architectural plans and management practice, and their limitations. Two comparable examples from England and...

  • Colonial Quarantine: Spatialisation and materialisation at the North Head Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peta Longhurst.

    Established in 1835, the North Head Quarantine Station was intended to quell the spread of contagion amongst incoming immigrants and existing residents in Sydney, Australia. This paper seeks to position the Quarantine Station as one component of a colonial practice of institutionalisation. The site’s major institutional goal was the prevention of disease transmission. However, by considering the practice of quarantine within an imperial context, it is possible to see the broader implications of...

  • Graffiti revelations and the changing meanings of Kilmainham Gaol, Ireland (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Laura McAtackney.

    Kilmainham Gaol was built in 1796 with the intention of being the new jail for Dublin County. In reality it swiftly became the de facto holding centre for many of the most difficult and recalcitrant prisoners for the colonial powers to control from this time until its closure in 1924. Mainly due to its association with so many major figures of Ireland’s struggle to gain independence from Britain the prison has transitioned from being a British colonial bastion to being a nationalist heritage...

  • Imposed and Home-Grown Colonial Institutions: The Jesuit Chapels of St. Mary’s City and St. Francis Xavier, Maryland (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Gibb. Scott Lawrence. Valerie M.J. Hall. Fr. Brian Sanderfoot.

    Through institutions, neighborhoods become communities. Religious, educational, governmental, and social organizations provide structured relationships. They express commonly held goals and values, and are endowed with varying degrees of authority and power. But institutions do not follow a common developmental trajectory. The discovery of the 1662 Jesuit chapel of St. Francis Xavier in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, plays an integral role in the examination of the most basic difference among...

  • The Indian Mariners Project at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Russell Palmer.

    The Indian Mariners Project explores the history of and ongoing relationship between Native people and the sea. A principal goal of the project is to create and share with public, school, and academic audiences a series of digital maps revealing the dynamic social networks and global traveling histories of American Indian mariners during the 19th century. This project research is grounded in a rich and accessible archival record relating to the active commercial Yankee whalefishery and Indian...

  • Life Among Ruins: Bermuda and Britain’s Imperial Debris (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brent Fortenberry.

    Bermuda was settled in 1612 by the Virginia Company Colonists of England’s expanding colonial realm. While still a British Overseas Territory, Bermuda finds itself caught between its colonial past and its (post?) colonial present and future. From Royal Forts to Watch Houses, the vestiges of the British colonization still saturate its shores. Ironically it is primarily the remains of the historic colonial landscape that are the means and infrastructure for the island’s economic survival through...

  • Negotiating internment: craftwork and prisoner experience, Ireland 1916-1923 (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Joanna Bruck.

    This paper will explore how the craftwork created by internees in the aftermath of the Easter Rising through to the end of the Civil War was used to mediate shifting social and political identities as Ireland moved from colonial subject to semi-independent state. The creation of objects such as metal brooches and rings, bone harps and crosses, and macramé handbags and teacosies was not only an expression of intellectual freedom and personal capacity, but was intimately bound up with the...

  • Nobody’s Stooge: Matron Hicks and the Hyde Park Barracks Destitute Asylum (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Davies.

    The Hyde Park Barracks Asylum for Infirm and Destitute Women was established in Sydney in 1862, and operated under the management of Matron Lucy Hicks until 1886. Over the years the inmates swept, discarded and stashed large amounts of debris into sub-floor cavities. This material was recovered during renovations to the building in the early 1980s, and includes large quantities of textiles, printed papers, sewing equipment, religious items and many other objects. Recent archaeological analysis...

  • A Place for Convicts: The Fremantle Lunatic Asylum (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan Piddock.

    Western Australia began as a free colony but due to economic conditions and a shortage of labour decided to accept male convicts from Britain, becoming a penal colony in 1849. It was the responsibility of the British Parliament to provide for convicts suffering from mental illness. In this paper l will discuss the effect funding from half a world away had on provisions for the care of the insane in the form of the Freemantle Lunatic Asylum. I will highlight what life was like in the asylum using...

  • Religious Colonialism: prison graffiti at the Inquisitor’s Palace, Malta (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Russell Palmer.

    The Roman Inquisition was present in Malta for around 250 years and existed as part of a religious colonial regime which also included the Knights of St John and the Bishopric of Malta and Gozo, all of whom officially reported to the Holy See. Responsible for ensuring the proper observance of Catholic ritual and doctrine among Malta’s inhabitants, the Inquisitorial court often issued custodial sentences for any transgression. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the prisons held indigenous...

  • Reproducing the National Family: Postcolonial Reunion Rituals, Landmarks and Objects (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lu Ann De Cunzo.

    The United States’ history of multi-national European colonial conquest, independence, and imperialism has created a complex, contested cultural memory. Swedish colonialism presents an especially important case because it lasted literally only 17 years. For diverse reasons, memory events and landmarks have continued to reproduce New Sweden for more than a century. This paper explores the institution of the ‘national family’ in the U.S. through the lens of the 375th Swedish anniversary ‘reunion’...

  • Set in stone and pencilled in: indelible memories and the inscription of space at the North Head Quarantine Station, Sydney (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Annie Clarke. Ursula Frederick.

    Quarantine, as an act of enforced isolation and medical supervision, was used by British colonial authorities and later by Australian governments to manage and control the introduction of infectious diseases. Quarantine stations such as that located at North Head, Manly were initially built as specialist institutions. Over time, however, as the need for mass quarantine declined, the facilities at North Head were used for other forms of social regulation and welfare. These included a detention...

  • Topographies of tension: institutional remains and the politics of ruination in 20th century Greek border transformations (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dimitris Papadopoulos.

    Recent works (Gourgouris 1996, Calotychos 2003, Hamilakis 2008) have addressed the institutional apparatuses of Greek nation-state building, including official archaeology, through a dual critique of the colonialist/nationalist project. The Greek case features complexities that relate to both the ‘crypto-colonial’ status (Herzfeld 2002) of the Greek state and the internal colonization process targeting ethnic otherness in annexed territories such as Macedonia (1913). This paper explores the...

  • Water for the City, Ruins for the Country: Archaeology of the NYC Watershed (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only April Beisaw.

    New York’s Catskill region contains innumerable ruins. To outsiders, they are a reminder that rural life is a struggle. To insiders, these ruins are the debris of a government project. Millions of New York City (NYC) residents need clean water, and the Catskill region is their main source. The city began depopulating the Catskills over 100 years ago when towns were submerged to create the Ashokan Reservoir. Many left but those who remained reorganized their lives around the reservoir. Increasing...