Labor, Status And Power: Slave Foodways At James Madison's Montpelier AD 1810-1836
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study explores the evidence for differences in foodways related to status among an enslaved community according to labor-based designations. Specifically, this paper investigates the interplay of a plantation provisioning system and slave responses to the imposed system through the study of faunal remains recovered from discrete slave quarters at James Madison's Montpelier plantation near Orange, Virginia during the so-called Retirement Period of James Madison, approximately encompassing the years A.D. 1810-1836. Through synthesis of data acquired by the author with that of previous investigators, this research reveals subtle variations in the ways in which the different labor groups at Montpelier negotiated the plantation hierarchy through differential access to and acquisition of meat resources within the constraints of the plantation setting. While higher positions within the plantation hierarchy, particularly in the case of the skilled laborers of the Stable Quarter, is inferred, further fine-grained examination of the material culture from the slave quarters at Montpelier is necessary to accurately identify the nuances of status and unravel the power structure at Montpelier.
Degree ProgramGraduate College