Christopher Matthews

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Montclair State U.

Grant number

Gr. 9347

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

Matthews, Dr. Christopher, Montclair State U., Montclair, NJ - To aid research on 'From Creole Synthesis to Racial Modernity: An Archaeology of Culture Change in the Native and African American Community in Setauket, New York'

Preliminary abstract: ‘From Creole Synthesis to Racial Modernity’ is a historical archaeological study of a mixed heritage Native and African American community on the north shore of Long Island in New York. The purpose of the project is to document the response of this community to an increasingly hostile racial environment over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. While non-whites consistently faced racial prejudice, the nature of racism in the early 19th century post-emancipation era of ‘creole synthesis’ in New York was less severe than in the mid-century and later when a ‘racial modernity’ took hold. My contribution is to examine how Native and African Americans adjusted the economic and cultural strategies they used to confront racism at the household level. This will be accomplished through the comparison of data recovered from two archaeological sites associated with early-19th and late-19th century ‘colored’ households in Setauket, NY. My hypothesis is that if racism did intensify over the course of the nineteenth century, then the data from the two sites should indicate different patterns in the evidence of community segregation, labor practices and wealth, as well as cultural practice and identity as these ‘colored’ people were marginalized socially and economically through time.