Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Book, Old Subject

Here it is, the long-awaited book cover (we anticipate the arrival in the next few weeks of the odd bits that come between the covers) of The Archaeology of Institutional Life. This is an edited volume of papers by scholars from around the world (Australia, the United Kingdom, New York). Each contributor used archaeology to examine how individuals and communities experience institutional life.

The Archaeology of Institutional Life, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2009.

Individual papers examine poor houses, asylums, prisons, school houses, an orphanage, an American Civil War prison camp, and a Utopian community. Each contributor has tried to tell their story in clear, concise English, using as little jargon as possible. Although targeted at academics with similar interests, most of the papers can be read profitably by general audiences.

This work is important to our ongoing research at Port Tobacco, a community defined as much by its institutions as by its individual residents. We have a least two schools, two or more churches, the court house, Union encampments in the vicinity as well as federal units housed in the courthouse. There isn't an almshouse or poorhouse in town, but there is one just up MD 6. We fully expect to apply the wisdom and insight of our ten colleagues in exploring these facets of Port Tobacco: Sherene Baugher, David R. Bush, Eleanor Conlin Consella, Lu Ann De Cunzo, Lois M. Feister, Owen Lindauer, Susan Piddock, Deborah L. Rotman, Suzanne Spencer-Wood, and Stephen Warfel.

There are two editors for this volume...April and yours truly; but this is April's project. Always has been. Kudos to her for this achievement and for her now tenure-track position at Heidelberg University. If you want to congratulate April in person, she'll be in Port Tobacco the week of March 9.


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