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Food on Parade: The Use of Food to Create Social Identity and Differences within the Post-Civil War U.S. Army at Fort Laramie, Wyoming

Author(s): Sarah Wolff

Year: 2016

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Summary

On a remote frontier fort where conspicuous consumption materials were limited, officers and enlisted men reinforced distinct hierarchical social status identities through differential food consumption. While status differences in the military are primarily signaled through rank insignia and uniform elements, I intend to focus this paper on differences in diet to better understand the maintenance of Victorian class structure at Fort Laramie from 1870 – 1890. A zooarchaeological and historical document analysis demonstrates that while enlisted men and officers had similar rations, their diets were different in many respects. Officers maintained greater diet diversity because they were the only ones who regularly hunted wild game. In addition, officers regularly purchase canned meats, fruits, and vegetables. This research increases our knowledge of the everyday life and social relationships between officers and enlisted men in the U.S. Army in the late 19th century.


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Food on Parade: The Use of Food to Create Social Identity and Differences within the Post-Civil War U.S. Army at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Sarah Wolff. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404471)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America