Recently Commonweath’s Cynthia Goode, Principal Investigator and Laboratory Director was invited to write, “Archaeology of Enslaved Women’s Resistance in the Great Dismal Swamp”, as part of a special issue on women’s labor for the peer-reviewed Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage. Archaeological data is from John Milner Associates’ 2009 investigation of Dismal Town (Site 44SK0070) and Cynthia’s 2014 dissertation investigation that was funded by the American University, Washington, D.C. The article expands on the theory of resistive consumption by exploring enslaved women’s material culture practices with a specific focus on how they used mass commodities to assert their equality.
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Article Abstract: Under the conditions of corporate slavery in the Great Dismal Swamp, enslaved women transformed the mechanisms of capitalist exchange into resistance. Archaeological evidence from Dismal Town, a late-eighteenth-century corporate plantation, shows that enslaved women consumed ceramics and clothing adornments that signaled social equality. Their participation in mass consumption was an act of resistive consumption that allowed them to imagine and enact a life outside of slavery, despite their being considered as commodities and exploited for productive and reproductive labor under harsh conditions by the Dismal Swamp Company.
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