Danielle C. Skeehan F'12
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2012
Creole Domesticity: Women, Commerce, and Kinship in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Writing
This dissertation examines how Atlantic commerce shaped and defined understandings of “home” for an emergent bourgeois class. Drawing on extensive archival research, it argues that the genealogies of Atlantic commercial writing and domestic fiction are one and the same. Read alongside domestic fiction, a commercial and material history of the bourgeois home reveals the expertise of domestic laborers, indentured servants, and slaves who transformed imported and homespun commodities into signifiers of polite, genteel domesticity. This home surfaces initially as a contested space, and the store of knowledge and “gendered literacy” that becomes the property and virtue of the bourgeois woman is, first and foremost, the territory of domestic servants.