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Entangled Identities on the American Frontier: Army Laundresses as Cultural Brokers at 19th Century Fort Davis, Texas

Author(s): Katrina Eichner

Year: 2017

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Summary

This paper focuses on the cultural slippage that occurs in frontier zones where competing worldviews create conditions for alternative, innovative, and layered performances of intersecting identities. As spaces of translation, frontiers are the ideal location to study entangled identities. Inhabitants of these queer landscapes constantly negotiate the multiple lived realities of often conflicting ideologies. I propose the use of third-space as a framework for understanding the fragmentation and fluidity of experience in the American frontier during the 19th century. This study considers materials utilized in the daily lives of black and Latina laundresses who worked at the multi-ethnoracial, military fort of Fort Davis, Texas. With their identity as Americans, women, care-takers, military employees, and racialized individuals constantly in flux, these women balanced their relationship with one another, the civilian community, and their military colleagues as a way of redefining and creating new personhoods and identities in the context of living on a geographic and cultural boundary. Moreover, the study considers the women’s roles as cultural brokers who navigate contentious social and physical landscapes by simultaneous asserting, contesting, and reasserting their intersecting personhoods in their daily interactions and performances.


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Entangled Identities on the American Frontier: Army Laundresses as Cultural Brokers at 19th Century Fort Davis, Texas. Katrina Eichner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431951)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16366

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