‘O Brave New World’: Archaeologies of Changing Identities

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

Historical archaeology has been particularly concerned with how people form identities in new and challenging environments. Colonialism, capitalism and globalization create situations of displacement, replacement and difference. The papers in this session all deal with the ways in which people actively create, recreate, adjust and alter their identities using the material world. These questions are critical in trying to understand the world today, in which boundaries are simultaneously breaking down and being built up, and humans are constantly adapting to the ever-changing milieu.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Accommodating personalities: the role of purpose-built mill workers’ housing in communal identity (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Suzanne Lilley.

    At the end of the 18th century, Derbyshire in England witnessed unprecedented social upheaval with the introduction of the first water-powered cotton mills along the Derwent Valley. These ventures brought fame and fortune for the mill-owners; however, they also transformed the local demographic from dispersed agricultural hamlets into prominent industrial communities. Brought together within purpose-built settlements, mill workers gained not only innovative forms of accommodation (industrial...

  • Becoming Brooklyn (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marcus Watson.

    Becoming BrooklynThe Johannes I. Lott farmhouse site in Marine Park, Brooklyn is a unique place to explore the shifting identities that occurred in the greater NYC area as it became more and more urbanized. The Lott’s originally owned more than 200 acres of land. The Lott family passed down this property to descendants from 1719 to 1989 during this time, Lott family members had to adapt to many changes including a change from Dutch to English rule, the formation of the United States, the birth...

  • Deconstructing a Marginalized Identity Formation: What the Built Environment of Dogtown Can Tell Us About Its Past and About Its Present (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Martin.

    This study explores themes of identity construction by examining the historic community known as Dogtown located within the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The neighborhood was populated mainly by small English farming families until the end of the 18th century. At that time a demographic shift brought in more low-income, non-farming families and a group of aging, single women. While it seems likely that these residents were still treated as part of a larger, albeit somewhat different,...

  • Examining identity and personhood in the archaeological record: A case study from the Chief Richardville House (12AL1887) (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Spott.

    Anthropologists address identity and personhood in order to understand how people engage in social relations with one another. Identity is an amalgamation of personal characteristics; some inherent, some chosen and some imposed, that allow for inclusion or exclusion in various social arenas. In this paper, notions of identity and personhood are examined to test the utility of this theoretical framework to inform us about the pluralistic society of 18th and 19th century frontier life, and is...

  • From Colony to Country: The archaeology of national identity formation at New York City’s South Street Seaport (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Diane George.

    The half-century following the American Revolution was a vital time in the development of a national identity for the United States, as it moved from being a British colony to a newly-independent country. The assertive role of the United States in the 21st century world, including its involvement in ‘preemptive’ wars, is underlain by a sense of national superiority. This paper poses the question of whether early manifestations of this characteristic can be found in late 18th and early 19th...

  • History, Capitalism and Identity: Archaeologies of the Future (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only O. Hugo Benavides.

    As Eric Hobsbawm expressed ‘the human body was not made for capitalism,’ and yet for over five centuries this particular economic system has adapted itself to the shifting conditions and social structures of innumerable cultures. How does one account for such a pernicious system of exploitation and surplus extraction to have been normalized into a global paradigm? And what are the comparative manners of assessing the ways that capitalism has permeated historical thought, produced ethnic...

  • Living landscapes as transitions through time: the making of social identity in the north Atlantic isles (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ruth Maher.

    The peopling of landscapes tends to be viewed as passive and economically focused. In other words, peoples of the past moved into their surroundings for economic benefits and chose land for its agricultural potential alone. Although this research does not intend to argue against the economics of land use and agricultural choices, it does argue that landscapes are not passive backdrops to societal formation and identity. Indeed landscapes play an active role in cosmology, gender, status, age and...

  • The New York Irish: Fashioning urban identities in 19th-century New York City (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meredith Linn.

    Much has been written in the past few decades about how mid-19th-century Irish immigrants, the first large wave of immigrants Americans perceived to be foreign, forged hybridized Irish American identities. What had not been fully addressed thus far is how these predominately rural newcomers adjusted to urban life in the cities in which many settled. This paper begins to address this issue in New York City, a distinctly cosmopolitan central place of Irish in America. The material remains from the...

  • Prospects for understanding identity formation in culture contact situations in the Greater Los Angeles area (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Courtney Buchanan.

    Culture contact situations are uniquely situated to address important questions on the nature of changing identities and identity formation in archaeology. One of the richest areas of cultural contacts west of the Mississippi is California. While much has been written about cultural contacts and identity formation in the Spanish Missions in the San Diego region and the Spanish Missions and Russian Forts in Northern California, the one area that has had little done is the region between San Diego...

  • A Tale of Two Trading Posts (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marcus Watson.

    In the 17th century New Netherland, a colony run by the Dutch West India Trading Company in what is now New York, was the locus of the Dutch Fur Trade. Throughout the early years of the colony, this trade was restricted to Fort Orange, the company’’s official trading post located in modern day Albany. While this trade thrived, the colony did not, forcing company officials to release their monopoly on the Fur Trade and opening it to all residents in the colony. Following this declaration, a...