Fabricating the “Southern Belle”: Assessing the Role of Imported Material Culture in the Confederacy

TitleFabricating the “Southern Belle”: Assessing the Role of Imported Material Culture in the Confederacy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSchwalbe, Emily A.
JournalJournal of Maritime Archaeology
Volume13
Issue1
Pagination37 - 53
Date Published04/2018
Abstract

Confederate society was dependent on a rigidly defined hierarchy that assigned roles and appropriate behavior based on race, gender, and wealth. White, wealthy, southern women were dependent on material culture as a socially acceptable means of self-fashioning and making their status public. The Union naval blockade threatened this practice by preventing Confederate markets from accessing imported, status-affirming goods. The industry of blockade running rose to fill this need, often controversially prioritizing cargo space for civilian, luxury products over necessities for the military. This article examines the artifact assemblages of blockade runner sites off the coasts of Wilmington, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina through a theoretical framework of agency and costly signaling to make assessments about Confederate identity during the Civil War.

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http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7581114135

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DOI: 10.1007/s11457-017-9178-7