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Reading, Writing, and Riots: Constructing Masculinity on an Antebellum College Campus

Author(s): Erin S. Schwartz

Year: 2015

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Recent archaeological excavations at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, have uncovered a rich assemblage related to one of its earliest buildings. The context in question, Graham Hall (occupied 1804-1835), served as a dormitory, chapel, and classroom space; this mixed space created an environment for college males to test social boundaries, bond with peers, and construct a regionally- and temporally-distinct version of masculinity. This poster integrates archaeological, documentary, and historical evidence, exploring this unique construction process and its intersections with identity and material culture. Artifacts like bone toothbrushes, ceramic shaving bowls, and coat buttons demonstrate masculinity's construction in both public and private spheres. At the same time, these college boys used their materials to differentiate their particular community from previous generations. This ongoing research also hopes to define potential avenues for further research on Washington & Lee’s campus.

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Reading, Writing, and Riots: Constructing Masculinity on an Antebellum College Campus. Erin S. Schwartz. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434157)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 562

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