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Streaking and Straight Pins: Constructing Masculinity on an Antebellum College Campus

Author(s): Erin S. Schwartz

Year: 2016

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The myth of the "Southern gentleman" permeates the modern imagination of the historic American South. This archetype is simultaneously "other" and "normative": the concept is saturated in an air of mystery and deep, foreign tradition, yet is often set against studies of traditional American "others" such as women, immigrants, and enslaved peoples. Recent excavations at Graham Hall, an all-male antebellum dormitory on Washington & Lee University’s campus in Lexington, VA, have uncovered a rich, diverse, and perhaps slightly unexpected array of material culture from an equally interesting and dynamic student community. Drawing on historical, anthropological, documentary, and archaeological sources, this paper explores the construction of masculinity at Graham Hall, examining the divergences between Graham Hall’s and previous generations’ versions of masculinity and challenging traditional narratives about masculinity in the antebellum South.

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Streaking and Straight Pins: Constructing Masculinity on an Antebellum College Campus. Erin S. Schwartz. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434573)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 876

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