Naphtalie Jeanty

Queerness is for White People: The Effects of the Idea of African American Sexual Deviancy among 19th Century Buffalo Soldiers

The goal of this project is to investigate male-identified homosociality within black communities by tracing masculine relationships within 19th century gendered labor spaces through an archaeological and an interdisciplinary approach. This study analyzes Buffalo Soldier troops stationed at Fort Davis, Texas from 1867-1891. It presents results from a summer 2014 excavation carried out adjacent to the modern remains of the fort. Main sources of evidence that I employ include: historical documents, recorded information about living arrangements, a literature review, and glass remains that show evidence of drinking which may have helped to promote a homosocial environment. I approach this research with a queer perspective and by merging black feminist and transnational feminist frameworks that allow me to focus on the bonds and relationships amongst African American soldiers that did not subscribe to traditional heteronormative practices. Because so often these relationships are obscured within documentary and material records, this paper engages with queer politics, while acknowledging histories of colonialism and slavery, that aim to address queer identities within African American communities-both historic and modern.