Queering 'American': Archaeological Investigations of a 19th c. Military Fort in West Texas

Author(s): Katrina Eichner

Year: 2015


This paper investigates how racial identity impacted the creation and maintenance of an American frontier and border community using an assemblage from a 19th century American Army encampment from Fort Davis, Texas as a case study. By engaging a queer theoretical framework, this research focuses on how Black, Mexican, and immigrant bodies challenged ideals of normative White citizenship during a period of great social upheaval and racial tension. With thousands of European immigrants and newly emancipated African-Americans enlisting in the army during the period of reconstruction, the demographics of the new postbellum U.S. Army challenged the very notion of a unified American perspective. Moreover, this research investigates what strategies were employed by members of these frontier/border communities that lead to a collective nationalized identity despite a racially and ethnically mixed population. This paper demonstrated that by queering our understanding of nineteenth century American identity, a more holistic and nuanced understanding of racial interaction can challenge traditional interpretations of the American Westward Expansion.

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Cite this Record

Queering 'American': Archaeological Investigations of a 19th c. Military Fort in West Texas. Katrina Eichner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396812)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;