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Archaeologies of Respectability: African-American Women, Material Culture

This event last occurred Feb. 1, 2019

Archaeological fieldwork at the Phyllis Wheatley Home for Girls in Chicago and at the childhood home of civil rights activist Pauli Murray in Durham, North Carolina, provides new insights into settings where race, gender and civic activism are front and center. The former was a charitable institution run by African-American women to aid others navigating the Great Migration northward, while the latter housed the multigenerational family that profoundly shaped Murray’s sense of justice and human rights.

This talk will explore the early 20th century’s emphasis on respectability and uplift. The meanings that women attributed to these concepts manifest materially in landscapes and in the selection, use and disposal of everyday consumer goods, bringing to the fore additional themes including gender, femininity and the presentation of one’s self and one’s home.

Please join the School of Human Evolution and Social Change for a light lunch at 11:45 a.m., followed by a talk by guest speaker Anna Agbe-Davies from 12 - 1 p.m. (Please RSVP to reserve your spot.)

About the speaker

Agbe-Davies is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. As an archaeologist, she studies the plantation societies of the colonial southeastern U.S. and Caribbean, as well as towns and cities of the 19th- to 21st-century Midwest and South.

photo of Agbe-Davies

SHESC 254

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