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This is the question:The end of this week’s reading from Dawdy provides an alternative definition for “creole” within French contexts of Louisiana. Using her discussion of “ethnic acculturation” and “hybridization” (2000:111) how are creole spaces similar and different from those of Spanish St. Augustine? Silvia (2002) overviews the archaeology of Native and French structures along the Gulf Coast, which reveals interesting further patterns for our consideration. Describe some of Silvia’s findings in regards to hybridity and the mixing of cultural traditions. Please according the requirement to write down the answer.(The requirement is the screenshot below).
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Understanding Cultural Change through the Vernacular: Creolization in Louisiana
Author(s): Shannon Lee Dawdy
Source: Historical Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 3, Evidence of Creolization in the Consumer
Goods of an Enslaved Bahamiam Family (2000), pp. 107-123
Published by: Society for Historical Archaeology
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107
Shannon Lee Dawdy
ethnogenesis as they are possible variations on
a theme-complex reactions to a multitude of
Understanding Cultural Change
Through the Vernacular:
Creolization in Louisiana
cultural, economic, and political conditions.
This generational transformation in colonial
identity should be of interest to historical archae
ologists. The latter tend to cite Deetz’ (1977)
specific interpretations of New England culture,
ABSTRACT
A diachronic examination of the emic meanings of “creole”
in Louisiana reveals a dynamic and complex social identity
that is not easily dissected into the etic (or Anglo-American
emic) categories of race, class, or ethnicity. In fact, outsider
misconceptions about Louisiana Creoles have been incorporated
into recent anthropological definitions of creolization. This
study explores the vernacular understandings of creole through
three generational shifts in Louisiana spanning the early-18th
through mid-19th centuries. A comparison of these vernacular
definitions with the results of archaeological excavations at
two creole sites in New Orleans helps define three types
of creolization: transplantation, ethnic acculturation, and
hybridization. These are transitions that occurred in the self
fashioning of Louisianans as expressed through their houses,
gardens, clothes, food, and household goods. Adopting a native
perspective exposes the roles that worldview and individual
agency play in shaping processes of cultural change.
Introduction
but have not generally expanded on the link
between age-sets and cultural change. Creole
identity was formed, reformed, and reinvented
with each dominant generation. The action of
being creole was performed with, and should
be reflected in, the material life of the house
hold (Matthews 1998). An effort is made here
to outline what might be the archaeological
manifestations of different forms of creolization
through discussion and examples from two
Louisiana creole sites that, between them, cover
the three periods of Louisiana vernacular cre
olization.
This exploration into a place and time where
“creole” and “creolization” have a native mean
ing serves to underscore the fact that some
colonial cultures, particularly British North
America, essentially lack these terms in their
everyday vernacular, though they do not neces
This work will review the history of the
term “creole” in Louisiana in order to draw
out the vernacular, or emic, nuances of cre
olization and how these understandings can
inform historical anthropology and archaeology.
Three basic meanings will be elucidated that
can be translated into academic, etic terms as
“transplantation, ” “ethnic acculturation, ” and
“hybridization.” In Louisiana, these processes
and the related understandings of what it means
to be creole not only proceeded chronologi
cally, but can be associated with three distinct
generations of Louisianans. The link between
generational identity and processes of cultural
change seen in Louisiana echoes the observations
of James Deetz (1977, 1993) on the distinct
mindsets of the Elizabethan “yeoman” settlers
of the Atlantic seaboard and their American
Georgian descendants. In Louisiana, a third
generation is discernable. These cultural shifts
are not so much predictable stages of colonial
sarily lack the equivalent cultural processes.
It begs the question, “Why do some colonial
cultures name the creole while others do not?”
The paper concludes with reflections on the
relative self-consciousness of cultural transforma
tion.
Vernacular Creolization
A review of creolization in the literature of
historical archaeology has been left to others in
this volume, but one archaeologist’s etymology
of the term makes a good launching point for
a discussion of vernacular creolization. Daniel
Mouer (1993:107) in his paper, “Chesapeake
Creoles: The Creation of Folk Culture in Colo
nial Virginia,” says “[c]reolization is a concept
borrowed both from folk usage and from the
study of anthropological linguistics.” Both roots
he understands as meaning essentially “hybridiza
tion.” Of the folk usage he notes, “[i]n some
Historical Archaeology, 2000, 34(3): 107?123.
Permission to reprint required.
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108 HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY 34(3)
for masters to be tolerant of their slaves’ African
contexts (e.g., traditional New Orleans society)
the term ‘creole’ is an honorable identity, typi
cally referring to persons with ‘mostly’ European
cultural backgrounds. In other places and times,
the term is nearly a pejorative, suggesting ‘half
breed,’ ‘mongrel,’ etc.” (Mouer 1993:108). What
is interesting is that Mouer has actually given
a late 19th-century Anglo-American (i.e., non
Louisianan) definition of Creole that confuses a
Louisiana folk definition with an Anglo-American
racial anxiety.
the definition of “native born,” regardless not
only of race, but of social caste. It distinguished
the native slaves, native free people of color,
and native planters from the newer African and
History of “Creole” in Louisiana
European arrivals. By the mid-18th century,
“creole” became synonymous with any native
Mouer’s definition would offend most Creoles
in Louisiana today or a hundred years ago,
either because they would stiffen at the tar-brush
implications of being “mostly” European, or
because it would deny them a creole identity
due to their obvious African ancestry. Mouer’s
second, pejorative folk definition of creole
refers to the common and still-current misconcep
tion held by outsiders that Louisiana Creoles
are synonymous with an endogamous group of
mixed-race people, a narrow outsider definition
dating to the Jim Crow era. In reality, Creoles
religious rites. Remarkably, he claimed that
the practice would probably disappear once the
second generation, or the Creoles, came of age
and began deriding the old ways (McGowan
1976:114).
In colonial Louisiana, creole was used with
born Louisianan. As with many terms of social
classification, however, the definition of creole
changed over time (Tregle 1992:137). When
Louisiana was taken over by Spain in 1769,
“creole” distinguished the French-speaking popu
lace from the Spanish colonials. After a genera
tion of intermarriage the Spanish adapted the
local language and customs and themselves
became creole when a new group entered to
act as foil.
Anglo-Americans, attracted by the profits to
be made in the burgeoning sugar and cotton
trades, started immigrating to Louisiana in the
1790s. The trickle became a flood after the
come in all colors. There are black Creoles,
Creoles of color, and white Creoles, although
Louisiana purchase of 1803. At first the original
these embarrassing qualifiers only became neces
distinction of native-born versus new arrival held,
sary after the 19th-century immigration/invasion
but the linguistic and cultural contrasts between
Louisiana’s population and Anglo-Americans-and
the latter’s initial resistance to “creolization” (in
this case, going native by adapting Catholicism,
of Anglo-Americans. What is true is that, as
in Spanish Florida, when creole was first used
in Louisiana it had the meaning of “born in
the colonies.” It applied to descendants of two
European parents, of two African parents, of two
mixed-race parents, or any combination there
of, as long as the offspring were native to the
colony. This “born in the colony” definition also
explains creole tomatoes sold at New Orleans’
produce stands-they are a native-born variety.
Historical documents from Louisiana suggest
that this delineation of a new creole population
was the result of a self-awareness about cultural
transformation and the role of inter-generational
dynamics. Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz was
an overseer of a royal plantation in Louisiana
who wrote a treatise on slavery for his fellow
French planters in 1758. Du Pratz urged masters
the French language, and other cultural traits)-led
to an ethnic definition of Creole by the turn
of the 18th century. Following the historic
development of the term, Creole is capitalized in
this paper when used as a self-identified ethnic
label. Creole came to mean a Francophone
of French, Spanish, and/or African parentage
whose mindset and traditions were rooted in
Latin-Caribbean, colonial culture. This ethnic
classification grew to include the large influx of
San Domingue (renamed Haiti) immigrants who
came to New Orleans in the second decade of
the 19th century, which included white planters,
a large number of free people of color, and a
small number of slaves. Speaking French and
to let slaves organize themselves. He recom
mended Senegalese men as managers because
they were born leaders with a knowledge of
coming from a very similar Caribbean plantation
society, these newcomers were quickly adopted
African ways and rhythms of work. He pleaded
reinvigorated French language and culture while
into the Creole fold. The San Dominguans
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Dawdy-UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL CHANGE THROUGH THE VERNACULAR 109
bolstering Creole demographics against the caricatures of Louisiana Creoles in the 1880s
Anglo-American tide (LaChance 1992:112). At wherein he claimed that Creole meant simply
this time, “Creole” still applied to all social “mostly white.” In the Reconstruction era,
castes, so that newspapers of the time advertised formerly free Creoles of Color also struggled to
“Creole negro slaves,” “Creole quadroon slaves,” maintain their intermediate social and economic
or “American griffon” slaves, etc., though these position over that of the new freedmen, most
terms now referred to first language and religious of whom were African-Americans from whom
persuasion rather than place of birth.
New Orleans’ prominent community of free
they differed in language, religion, and culture.
Many descendants of the free colored population
people of color were mostly French-speaking emphasized the label “Creole” to an unprec
Creoles of color. A significant number of Eng
lish-speaking free blacks immigrated to the city
from less tolerant parts of the United States
throughout the antebellum era so that to be free
colored and to be a Creole of color were not
edented degree in a post-Civil War struggle for a
distinct ethnic identity and social position, until
in some minds it did become synonymous with
this group (Tregle 1992:131-134, 173-174).
So, by now in contemporary New Orleans,
synonymous. To make matters more confusing, vernacular uses of the word creole varies from
free people of color (whether Creole or Ameri context to context, from family to family, and
can) could be phenotypically black African or frequently requires clarification. Some hold to
very light skinned with a mixed racial heritage. the oldest definition of “native” and trace their
The latter were somewhat more common due in roots to the first French settlers, some to the
part to the French colonial tradition of placage, 19th-century ethnic meaning, some to one of the
wherein white males of the planter class were
contradictory, racially exclusive interpretations.
tacitly encouraged to take black or mixed-race Many typically history-conscious New Orleanians
mistresses, who were frequently manumitted are quite comfortable with creole meaning all
along with their children (LaChance 1992:116). of the above.
Under the Spanish administration, laws uphold
ing manumission through self-purchase also How Creoles Can Inform Archaeology
contributed to New Orleans’ large free colored
population (Hanger 1996).
What is interesting about the history of the
The incoming Anglo-Americans were uncom word creole is that it outlines a complex process
fortable with New Orleans’ large free colored of cultural change. “Creolization” can mean
population and with the ill-defined and frequently a number of different things depending upon
crossed color line (Crete 1978:77). As Anglo which type of creole is being taken as the
Americans attempted to impose their bi-racial
model. Amidst the complex shifts in vernacular
system on New Orleans and to assert power usage and the social forces that shaped them
over native Creoles of all classes in politics are embedded three basic definitions of “creole,”
and economics, it became apparent that “the and, by extension, of “creolization.”
other” was Latin, Catholic, and racially confused.
First, in the older meaning of creole as the
Creole to the Anglo-Americans came to have native, colonial-born population, creolization
the meaning of mixed-breed. By lumping all means the birth of a colonial culture with the
Creoles into a racially mixed group, Anglo birth of a native generation-a transplantation of
Americans could justify their domination of all
the old world in a new place-a creole tomato, a
new variety. This process results in a “colonial
trying in vain to assert rights of primogeniture society [that] is a fragment or cross section of
the native inhabitants of the territory, who were
vis-a-vis the land’s natural resources and the the mother country, cut out of the continuum of
rules of New Orleans society. In a desperate history and transplanted” (Johnson 1992:?12).
attempt to rescue a portion of their former status,
Depending on local conditions, the colonial
elite Creoles of European descent countered with society may become an anachronism or may
a new definition of Creole that claimed it applied take off on its own trajectory of development.
properly only to whites. The Anglo-American This generational definition of creolization also
comes close to themes in the work of James
author George Washington Cable dashed these
pretensions when he wrote his stereotypical
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110 HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY 34(3)
Deetz (1977, 1993) on critical phases of British
colonial society-the transplanting of the Old
World mindset and the emergence of a colonial
born identity which rejects that mindset. In
the oldest Louisiana sense, this is the process
of creolization.
Second, there is the ethnic sense of Creole,
wherein to be “creolized” means to be accultur
creolization is a relatively new term to the
field and archaeologists are still in the stage
of demonstrating that creolization has indeed
occurred. Ferguson (1992) uncovers clues in
the material record of plantation life that prove
there has been a cultural exchange rather than
German, Spanish, and some of the early Anglo
a cultural annihilation. Mouer (1993) does the
same thing in the Chesapeake, demonstrating
that even dominant whites were creolized by
their interactions with Native Americans and
learned French, intermarried with the locals,
strides against the assimilation myth of British
ated into an established Creole community.
American settlers to enter colonial Louisiana Africans in the new colony. These are important
and adopted Louisiana customs while making North America that will hopefully inspire new
a few contributions of their own in cooking,
interpretations of American identity. At the
architecture, and law. In this sense, newcomers same time, archaeologists have an obligation
largely adapt the local dominant culture, while to build on creolization so that it has some
adding a little something new. This version explanatory power to distinguish it from older
of creolization describes a familiar American acculturation models. From an archaeological
immigrant experience. In Louisiana, this form
of creolization also meant that shared language
and culture cut across divisions of race and
point of view, what might be most interesting
about the vernacular definitions of creolization
is that, at least in Louisiana, they proceeded
caste.
chronologically through three distinct phases
Third is the racial definition of creole wherein of colonization and post-colonial development.
“creolization” means literally the interbreeding of
The “transplantation” definition is closely linked
diverse peoples and figuratively the hybridization to the French colonial period (1718-1765), the
of cultures. In this sense, there is no strongly “ethnic acculturation” definition applies to the
“dominant” culture bringing everyone into its Spanish colonial period (1765-1805), and the
fold. Competing cultures or ethnicities struggle, “hybridization” meaning is associated with the
negotiate, and ultimately blend into one another. antebellum American period (1805-1862). Fine
This describes a true “melting pot” cultural tuning the creole clock even further, these shifts
process, which in both its literal and figurative in identity roughly correlate to the tenure of a
single generation. In other words, the history of
meanings seems to have taken place more com
monly in Latin America than in the former Louisiana appears not only to reinforce Deetz’
British colonies, notwithstanding U.S. rhetoric to model regarding the first generation of Old
the contrary (Deagan 1983:4). Intermarriage and World settlers and their children who invented a
multiethnic households are the main transforma New World identity, but extends it one genera
tion further. Deetz may have not seen this third
tive agents of this type of creolization.
Drawing these connections between the ver phase of “creolization” because it involves the
nacular uses of creole and historical phenomena legitimation of the children of multiracial unions
have multiplied rather than narrowed how “cre and an ensuing acknowledgment of the multi
olization” could be defined in historical archaeol cultural mix of New World society that was
ogy. It is hoped that by illuminating these not forthcoming in the former British colonies
many meanings, a flexible specificity, rather during the 19th century.
than a taxonomic shorthand, will be encouraged
in descriptions of cultural processes. If archae
Using the vernacular as inspiration, an interest
ing set of questions arises. What are the steps
(1992:xli) “multicultural adjustment” out of its
influence interactions? What are the important
ologists continue to use shortcut definitions of ethnogenesis in the colonial setting? How
of “creolization,” such as taking Ferguson’s does the cultural background of the participants
nuanced context, they have done little more agents of change? Do major cultural shifts
than say “well, people interact and then change coincide with the ascendancy of a younger
happens.” This is a small improvement over generation? What are the conservative and what
previous acculturation models. At this stage, are the changeable elements of culture? When
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