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Homosocial Bonding in the Brothel: Analyzing Space and Material Culture through Documents

Author(s): Kristen R. Fellows

Year: 2016

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Brothel madams were often responsible for managing their establishments and the women who lived and worked in them. Unsurprisingly, "female boarding houses," the euphemism often used for such sites on historic maps, have typically been gendered as female spaces. On the other hand, saloons tend to be thought of as male spaces despite the presence of prostitution in most of these businesses. This paper will begin to argue that a rethinking of space and gender in regards to brothels will provide greater insight into social relations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although women seemingly dominated brothels, much of the function of these spaces centered on the homosocial bonding between the male clientele. A probate inventory and building permit from the Crystal Palace, a brothel in Fargo, North Dakota, will allow for an examination of gender in this brothel via the material culture and use of space.

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Homosocial Bonding in the Brothel: Analyzing Space and Material Culture through Documents. Kristen R. Fellows. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434955)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 72

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