[PAST EVENT] Anthropology Ph.D. Defense Proposal: Chandler Fitzsimons
The region known as Virginia’s ‘Historic Triangle’—an area comprising Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown—underwent substantial spatial upheaval in the 20th century as geographic and economic makeup of Tidewater Virginia changed dramatically. Many of these changes in landscape reflected a burgeoning modern American nationalism: military bases sprung up in the area to defend the United States’ global interests, while historical sites related to the colonial and revolutionary period found themselves enshrined as monuments to the mythic past. These changes resulted in large-scale community displacement that disproportionately affected African-Americans. This dissertation, occurring partially in partnership with the National Park Service, asks the following: what effect has seventy years of serial African- American community displacement had on these communities and the broader social landscape of Virginia’s Historic Triangle? How can we create meaningful community-based archaeological research at sites of the recent past whose legacy is complicated? What effects does this history have on the spatiality of the region? What role can heritage initiatives play in understanding this history? and, lastly, how do we situate this heritage and research within a broader landscape of intensive historical and archaeological research and tourism?
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