Course Description and Objectives
This course explores recent theoretical, methodological, and thematic developments in historical archaeology in North America and the Caribbean. The course subjects concern the time period of 1400 AD through 1900 AD. We will examine how historical archaeologists use artifactual, documentary, and oral history evidence in interpreting the past, and how historical archaeology can contribute to our understanding of the ways by which material culture can be used to study race, class, gender, and ethnic identities.
We consider questions such as: How can we analyze the material remains of past culture groups to account for the varied ways in which human societies organized themselves? What cultural, social, political, and ecological processes contributed to continuity or change in past social forms and material culture? How do we recognize and study the past dynamics of ethnicity, class, gender, and racialization in archaeological remains? This course will similarly explore the role that historical archaeology can play in making visible those people poorly represented in the documentary record of the past, such as enslaved African Americans and Native Americans, and it will help us to appreciate their significant roles in shaping the history of the New World.
For example, the role of African Americans in building our nation's history is a central part of historical archaeology studies of this time period and region. This course will engage students in examining the ways in which African Americans dealt with and persevered against past racializing ideologies, and the lessons to be learned from such studies of past racism, including possible ways of combating racism in the present and future.
Locations and Instructor Background
Class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:00am to 12:20pm, in Room 1000 of Lincoln Hall. Instructor: Chris Fennell, office in 296 Davenport Hall, cell phone (312) 513-2683, email firstname.lastname@example.org; office hours on Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30-3:00pm. Edward Fanthome (email@example.com) serves as Teaching Assistant. His office hours are Monday, 4:00-5:00pm, Tuesday, 1:00-2:00pm, and Wednesday, 12:00-1:00pm, in 384 Davenport Hall.
I specialize in historical archaeology as an Associate Professor in Anthropology. My empirical research addresses the dynamics of social group affiliations among Africans, Europeans, and various social groups within the Americas in the 18th-20th centuries. These research initiatives include interpretative frameworks focusing on diaspora studies, regional systems and commodity chains, social group identities, ethnic group dynamics and racialization, stylistic and symbolic elements of material culture, consumption patterns, and analysis of craft and industrial enterprises. I am an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Landscape Architecture, the Center for African Studies and the Department of African American Studies, offering courses addressing African diaspora subjects and issues of racialization. I am also a member of the College of Law faculty and offer interdisciplinary seminars for graduate and law students. The Department of Anthropology also offers graduate studies concentration in historical archaeology.
I have created a course web page using the University's Compass program. Enrolled students can access the course web page by logging onto the Compass system, which will display all existing web pages for your courses. Choose "Historical Archaeology" from the display list and you can access the course syllabus, assignments, lecture notes and illustrations, and other online class resources. The logon page for Compass is available at: https://compass.illinois.edu/.
Internet resources on historical archaeology, which are suggested only and not required reading for this course, are available at: http://www.anthro.illinois.edu/faculty/cfennell/bookmark2.html.
Internet resources on African and African-American archaeology, cultures, and history, which are suggested only and not required reading for this course, are available at: http://www.diaspora.illinois.edu/bookmark3.html.
A non-exhaustive bibliography of other studies in historical archaeology is provided below, following the course schedule, as suggested readings only.
Suggested Readings: Historical Archaeology, by Charles E. Orser, Jr. (Prentice Hall, 2d ed., 2004). This textbook is suggested reading only, and is not required.
Your course grade will be determined by the grades you earn on the following: midterm exam (30% of course grade); Exhibit Analysis Paper (25%); and final exam (45%). Your regular attendance and active participation are of central importance for this course to provide you with a satisfying educational experience. Good attendance, class preparation, and note-taking will be very important for your ability to perform well, particularly on exams. The exams will follow a format of multiple choice questions and/or short-answer questions. The analysis paper will be due in class on Dec. 8, and will involve your visiting a museum, archaeology site, or heritage site and analyzing a relevant exhibit in the context of the subjects we are examining in this course. This course will fulfill a general education requirement for: Cultural Studies, Non-Western - U.S. Minority Culture(s); and Humanities & the Arts - Historical and Philosophical Perspectives.
When taking exams and completing written assignments, you will be responsible for knowing the concepts and terms discussed in the assigned readings, in the films shown in class, and in the topics covered in lectures, handouts, and web page or power point summaries. When preparing assignments, be careful that you do not plagiarize the works of another; that is, do not present the work or words of another author in a verbatim manner as your own. Consult the University's regulations for more information on the hazards of plagiarism, at http://studentcode.illinois.edu/. Assignments handed in late will lose 10% of the possible credit after the class in which they are due, and 10% more for each subsequent day late. No make-ups are provided for missed exams or assignments in the absence of documented and legitimate medical or family emergencies.
Week 1. Aug. 25 and 27. Introduction to Historical Archaeology
Required reading: Deetz, chap. 1.
Aug. 25: in-class introduction and discussions.
Aug. 27: Class does not meet this day. Instead, at a time convenient to you, watch the following film on historical archaeology questions and methods via online streaming: The Search for Josiah Henson, Time Team America (PBS 2014), available online at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365243972/. This film conveys an archaeology project focused on the remains of an 1830s plantation once home to Josiah Henson, the enslaved man who inspired the character of Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. You can also explore short film clips on the "tools of the trade" of doing archaeology online at http://www.pbs.org/time-team/experience-archaeology/ (PBS 2014).
Film: Secret Weapon of the Confederacy (Nat'l Geographic, 2013), on the history and archaeology of the Civil War submarine, the H. L. Hunley. This film coveys an impressive set of investigative methods used to recover this sunken vessel and solve the mysteries of its final voyage.
Week 5. Sept. 22 and 24. Surveying and Locating Historical Archaeology Sites
scan Oral Histories of New Philadelphia, available online at http://www.heritage.umd.edu/CHRSWeb/New%20Philadelphia/oralhistories.htm.
Film: Time Team America: New Philadelphia (PBS 2009). This film provides an overview of the history of this 19th-century community in western Illinois and a multi-year archaeological project to uncover the remains of its homes and businesses.
Film: Ghost in Your Genes (Nova 2006). Among other subjects, this documentary details trends in genetic and epigenetic research, showing the ways in which human physiologies are impacted by environmental and nutritional stresses. Historical archaeology projects often address the adequacy of past people's resources for health levels and the possibilities of investigating DNA connections between populations across time and space.
Review for midterm exam.
Midterm examination in class, Oct. 15.
Film: Secrets of the Dead: Resurrecting Richard III (PBS, Sept. 2014). This documentary presents cutting-edge methods on analyzing stable isotope data retrieved from burial sites to determine geographic and dietary patterns for an individual. These techniques are being employed increasingly in projects focused on the historical archaeology of the Americas and the movement of peoples, for example, from different regions of Africa to the locations in the Americas.
Suggested reading: "Cemeteries: Living with the Dead," by Randall McGuire, in Invisible America: Unearthing Our Hidden History, edited by Mark P. Leone and Neil A. Silberman, pp. 244-45. New York: Henry Holt, 1995 (on electronic reserve in Compass).
Studying Social Dynamics and Change
Week 10. Oct. 27 and 29. Explanation in Historical Archaeology // Analysis of Race and Racialization
Film: The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery (Gen. Serv. Adm. 1994). This film provides an account of the grass-roots community movement that directed the excavation and analysis of part of an African Burial Ground located beneath the streets of central Manhattan.
Film: The Language You Cry In (California Newsreel, 1998). This film tells a story of how African Americans in the coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina retained links with their West African heritage despite the horrors of the middle passage, slavery, and segregation, including links of a Mende language song.
Week 14. Dec. 1 and 3. Analyzing Gender, Class, and Ethnicity
Exhibit Analysis Paper due in class on Dec. 8.
Adams, William H. 1976. Trade Networks and Interaction Spheres -- A View from Silcott. Historical Archaeology 10: 99-112.
Adams, William H. 1977. Silcott, Washington: Ethnoarchaeology of a Rural American Community, Reports of Investigation 54, Washington State University.
Agorsah, Kofi, editor. 1994. Maroon Heritage, University of the West Indies Press.
Akin, Marjorie H. 2014. Numismatic Archaeology of North America: A Field Guide, Left Coast Press.
Andren, Anders (translated by Alan Crozier). 1998. Between Artifacts and Texts: Historical Archaeology in Global Perspective, Plenum Press.
Armstrong, Douglas A. 1990. The Old Village and the Great House: An Archaeological and Historical Examination of Drax Hall Plantation, St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, University of Illinois Press.
Armstrong, Douglas A. 2003. Creole Transformation from Slavery to Freedom: Historical Archaeology of the East End Community, St. John, Virgin Island, University Press of Florida.
Archer, Steven, and Kevin Bartoy, editors. 2007. Between Dirt and Discussion: Methods, Methodology and Interpretation in Historical Archaeology, Springer Press.
Ascher, Robert. 1961. Analogy in Archaeological Interpretation. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 17: 317-25.
Baker, Vernon G. 1978. Historical Archaeology of Black Lucy's Garden, Andover, Massachusetts: Ceramics from the Site of a Nineteenth Century Afro-American, Philips Academy.
Barile, Kerri. 2004. Hegemony within the Household: The Perspective from a South Carolina Plantation. In Household Chores and Household Choices: Theorizing the Domestic Sphere in Historical Archaeology, edited by Kerri Barile and Jamie Brandon, University of Alabama Press.
Barker, David. 2001. "The Usual Classes of Useful Articles": Staffordshire Ceramics Reconsidered. Ceramics in America 1: 73-93.
Barnes, Jodi, editor. 2011. The Materiality of Freedom: Archaeologies of Post-Emancipation Life, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia.
Baugher, Sherene. 2014. Archaeology and Preservation of Gendered Landscapes, Springer, New York.
Baugher, Sherene, and Richard Veit, editors. 2014. The Archaeology of American Cemeteries and Gravemarkers, University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Baugher, Sherene, and Robert W. Venables. 1987. Ceramics as Indicators of Status and Class in Eighteenth-Century New York. In Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology, edited by Suzanne Spencer-Wood, pp. 31-53, Plenum Press.
Beaudry, Mary. 1996. Reinventing Historical Archaeology. In Historical Archaeology and the Study of American Culture, edited by Lu Ann De Cunzo and Bernard Herman. University of Tennessee Press.
Beaudry, Mary, editor. 1988. Documentary Archaeology in the New World, Cambridge University Press.
Beaudry, Mary C., Lauren J. Cook and Stephen A. Mrozowski. 1991. Artifacts and Active Voices: Material Culture as Social Discourse. In The Archaeology of Inequality, edited by Randall H. McGuire and Robert Paynter, pp. 150-191, Blackwell Publishers.
Beaudry, Mary C., Janet Long, Henry M. Miller, Fraser D. Neiman and Gary Wheeler Stone. 2000. A Vessel Typology for Early Chesapeake Ceramics: The Potomac Typological System. In Approaches to Material Culture Research for Historical Archaeologists, compiled by David R. Brauner, pp. 11-36, Society for Historical Archaeology.
Beaudry, Mary C., and Stephen A. Mrozowski. 2001. Cultural Space and Worker Identity in the Company City: Nineteenth-Century Lowell, Massachusetts. In The Archaeology of Urban Landscapes: Explorations in Slumland, edited by Alan Mayne and Tim Murray, Cambridge University Press.
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Deagan, Kathleen. 1982. Avenues of Inquiry in Historical Archaeology. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 5: 151-77.
Deagan, Kathleen, and MacMahon, D. 1995. Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom, University Press of Florida.
De Cunzo, Lu Ann. 2004. A Historical Archaeology of Delaware: People, Contexts, and the Cultures of Agriculture, University of Tennessee Press.
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Deetz, James. 1987. Scientific Humanism and Humanistic Science: A Plea for Paradigmatic Pluralism in Historical Archaeology. In Mirror and Metaphor: Material and Social Constructions of Reality, Daniel W. Ingersoll, Jr. and Gordon Bronitsky, editors, pp. 367-380.
Deetz, James. 1993. Flowerdew Hundred: The Archaeology of a Virginia Plantation, 1619-1864, University Press of Virginia.
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Delle, James A. 1998. An Archaeology of Social Space: Analyzing Coffee Plantations in Jamaica's Blue Mountains, Plenum Press.
Delle, James A. 2014. The Colonial Caribbean: Landscapes of Power in Jamaica's Plantation System, Cambridge University Press, New York.
Delle, James A., Stephen A. Mrozowski, and Robert Paynter, editors. 2000. Lines that Divide: Historical Archaeologies of Race, Class, and Gender, University of Tennessee Press.
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Epperson, Terrence. 1999. Constructing Difference: The Social and Spatial Order of the Chesapeake Plantation. In "I, Too Am America": Archaeological Studies of African-American Life, edited by Theresa A. Singleton, University Press of Virginia.
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Feder, Kenneth L. 1994. A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site, Mayfield.
Fennell, Christopher. 2000. Conjuring Boundaries: Inferring Past Identities from Religious Artifacts. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 4(4): 281-313.
Fennell, Christopher. 2003. Group Identity, Individual Creativity and Symbolic Generation in a BaKongo Diaspora. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 7(1): 1-31.
Fennell, Christopher. 2007. Crossroads and Cosmologies: Diasporas and Ethnogenesis in the New World, University Press of Florida.
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Last updated: September 30, 2015