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Freedom From Worry: Douching as a Material Culture Case Study in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Women’s Health

Author(s): Ashley M. Morton

Year: 2014

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Summary

Although douching paraphernalia is increasingly recognized in scholarly articles and CRM reports it continues to be underrepresented and under discussed. Given the private nature of this non-display good, some form of taboo meaning among archaeologists and material culture studies have taken place. Yet this complex behavior, still common among American women today, provides a unique case study for archaeologists to explore women’s past lived experiences of health and illness and the motivations into treating social and medical issues diachronically that include birth control, venereal disease, infection, inflammation, general hygiene, and even cancer. Combining material remains of douching paraphernalia from late 19th and early 20th century residential and red-light contexts in the American West with archival research this paper incorporates medical anthropological concepts to further understanding about relationships between past people and their understanding of health.


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Freedom From Worry: Douching as a Material Culture Case Study in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Women’s Health. Ashley M. Morton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437008)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-46,04

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