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The Materiality of Family Identity: Archaeological Investigations of 19th Century Jewish Merchant Households
AuthorWithee, Katee Rae
AdvisorWhite, Carolyn L.
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The study of family identity seeks to demonstrate the connections between material culture, individual and group identities, and social norms and beliefs from the Victorian Era. Identities are fluid and ever changing, as is material culture and the values and meanings assigned to them. Archaeological evidence from excavations in Aurora, Nevada seeks to demonstrate the fluidity and interpretative power material culture has in assigning and visibly displaying individual and group identities. Special attention is given to the unique status family receives in Victorian culture. Family and children were the venues in which to display values and aspirations of class and social status, morality, purity, and respectability. Families represent both individual and group identities and also simultaneously, possibilities and expectations of social relations, age, gender, and class.