Aaron Howe

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. LouAnn Wurst

Second Advisor

Dr. Vincent Lyon-Callo

Third Advisor

Dr. David Benac


Archaeology, logging, labor, internal relations, domestic formation

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study approaches the material assemblage of Coalwood, a cordwood camp that operated from 1900-1912 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with a dialectal method and a theory of internal relations in order to understand how daily life was produced and reproduced. Common sense notions often see home and work as separate entities that only relate to one another externally. My archaeological and historical research abstracts domestic labor as a set of social relations that are dialectically and internally connected to the processes of capital accumulation. My archaeological analysis concludes that both productive and reproductive labor was conducted within the home and was integral to the functioning of productive labor, and therefore profit accumulation, at Coalwood. Different strategies of social reproduction are identified and linked to larger patterns of immigration, gender, and class. This study is a critique of common sense notions that see domestic labor as a static social formation that exist as an isolated force of reproduction. By placing domestic labor at the forefront, this study highlights the radical productive and reproductive potential of the home.