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Memories of the Yeoman: the Moralized materiality of farming in the memory of rural New England

Author(s): Quentin P Lewis

Year: 2016

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This paper focuses on the role of materiality and spatiality in the making of rural New England--a "historic place" with powerful resonances to the cultural identity of the United States. Rural New England was the site of 19th century historic preservation movements that sought to reclaim important objects and landscapes from material and social disintegration. Farming was integral to this construction, and the figure of the Yeoman was a frequently deployed categorical subjectivity, whose behaviors were structured and conditioned by material things. "Yeoman" is a term with discursive resonances receding back to medieval England, and these resonances were continually recontextualized to suit a dynamic and unstable 19th century. I examine the moralized ideology of the Yeoman and contrast that ideology with the actual material culture of 19th century farmers, as a way to explore how the memory was hardened into objective historical narrative.

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Memories of the Yeoman: the Moralized materiality of farming in the memory of rural New England. Quentin P Lewis. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434936)


Agriculture Materiality Memory

Geographic Keywords
United Kingdom Western Europe

Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 150

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