Queer Rations: Foodways at a 19th Century Military Fort

Author(s): Leah Grant

Year: 2015


This paper explores the ways that Queer Theory can be used in the archaeological study of foodways using materials from Fort Davis, Texas. At this nineteenth century military outpost, a racially, ethnically and economically diverse community sidestepped normative notions of foodstuffs. By engaging a queer framework, this research investigates how consumption practices on the American frontier were less regulated and more fluid than previously interpreted. Fort Davis’ foodways - including procurement, butchery, distribution and meal performance - were not fully subject to the bureaucratic controls established by the US Military and existing social, class, and gender regulations of the time. While the US Military sent supplies to this remote, multi-ethnic frontier post, there were problems with food spoilage, availability of goods, and livestock concerns. Ultimately, consumption practices at the fort were constantly in flux and required alternative strategizing due to these periods of food shortage. Through examination of faunal remains in comparison with food vessels and individual purchases made at the post trader’s store, I will examine how the personnel at Fort Davis, Texas used foodstuffs as a way to re-negotiate and subvert the normative roles assigned by military status, gender, and race.

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Cite this Record

Queer Rations: Foodways at a 19th Century Military Fort. Leah Grant. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396813)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

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