Is class outmoded as a basis for understanding labor history? This significant new collection emphatically says "No!" Touching on such subjects as migrant labor, religion, ethnicity, agricultural history, and gender, these thirteen essays by former students of David Montgomery--a preeminent leader in labor circles as well as in academia--demonstrate the sheer diversity of the field today.
"A truly creative, rigorous, and novel interdisciplinary collection that rethinks some of historical archaeology’s most fundamental questions."—Paul Mullins, Indiana University–Purdue University
The division of human society by race, class, and gender has been addressed by scholars in many of the social sciences. Now historical archaeologists are demonstrating how material culture can be used to examine the processes that have erected boundaries between people.
Drawing on case studies from around the world, the essays in this volume highlight diverse moments in the rise of capitalist civilization both in Western Europe and its colonies. In the first section, the contributors address the dynamics of the racial system that emerged from European colonialism. They show how archaeological remains shed light on the institution of slavery in the American Southeast, on the treatment of Native Americans by Mormon settlers, and on the color line in colonial southern Africa. The next group of articles considers how gender was negotiated in nineteenth-century New York City, in colonial Ecuador, and on Jamaican coffee plantations. A final section focuses on the issue of class division by examining the built environment of eighteenth-century Catalonia and material remains and housing from early industrial Massachusetts.
These essays constitute an archaeology of capitalism and clearly demonstrate the importance of history in shaping cultural consciousness. Arguing that material culture is itself an active agent in the negotiation of social difference, they reveal the ways in which historical archaeologists can contribute to both the definition and dismantling of the lines that divide.
The Editors: James A. Delle is an assistant professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College and the author of An Archaeology of Social Space: Analyzing Coffee Plantations in Jamaica's Blue Mountains.
Stephen A. Mrozowski is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts–Boston, director of the Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research, and co-author of Living on the Boott: Historical Archaeology of the Boott Cotton Mills, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Robert Paynter is a professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, author of Models of Spatial Inequality, and co-editor of The Archaeology of Inequality.
The Contributors: Marjorie R. Abel, Mark Bograd, James A. Delle, Terrence W. Epperson, William B. Fawcett, Ross W. Jamieson, David L. Larsen, Walter Robert Lewelling, Patricia Hart Mangan, Stephen A. Mrozowski, Michael S. Nassaney, Thomas C. Patterson, Robert Paynter, Warren Perry, Paul A. Shackel, Theresa A. Singleton, Diana diZerega Wall.
In Taiwan, small-scale subcontracting factories of thirty employees or less make items for export, like the wooden jewelry boxes that Ping-Chun Hsiung made when she worked in six such factories. These factories are found in rice fields and urban areas, front yards and living rooms, mostly employing married women in line with the government slogan that promotes work in the home—"Living Rooms as Factories."
Hsiung studies the experiences of the married women who work in this satellite system of factories, and how their work and family lives have contributed to Taiwan's 9.1 percent GNP growth over the last three decades, the "economic miracle." This vivid portrayal of the dual lives of these women as wives, mothers, daughters-in-law and as manufacturing workers also provides sophisticated analyses of the links between class and gender stratification, family dynamics, state policy, and global restructuring within the process of industrialization.
Hsiung uses ethnographic data to illustrate how, in this system of intersecting capitalist logic and patriarchal practices, some Taiwanese women experience upward mobility by marrying into the owners' family, while others remain home and wage workers. Although women in both groups acknowledge gender inequality, this commonality does not bridge divergent class affiliations. Along with a detailed account of the oppressive labor practices, this book reveals how workers employ clandestine tactics to defy the owners' claims on their labor.