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Inequality in the Academy: An Intersectional Analysis of Young College Men in 19th Century Lexington, Virginia

Author(s): Erin Schwartz

Year: 2017

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What can intersectionality offer to a study of an all-male antebellum dormitory? While this approach has typically been used to identify and combat race- and gender-based discrimination, this paper argues that intersectional theory can also illuminate subtle class- and age-based inequalities among historic individuals of the same gender and race. Archaeological investigation of Graham Hall, a combined dormitory/classroom space/chapel located on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, has revealed a diverse array of material culture representing multiple activities, individuals, and social statuses. Viewed through an intersectional lens, Graham Hall becomes a locus of intersecting identities and hierarchies: as young men from disparate places and classes negotiated their positions within the student body, age-based hierarchies contributed to tensions and occasional power struggles between students and older community authorities. In engaging intersectionality in an atypical way, this research highlights the antebellum student body (and their associated artifacts) as not a single homogeneous whole, but as a spectrum of multivalent and multilayered axes of identity.

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Inequality in the Academy: An Intersectional Analysis of Young College Men in 19th Century Lexington, Virginia. Erin Schwartz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431955)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -84.067; min lat: 36.031 ; max long: -72.026; max lat: 43.325 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17491

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