Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Archaeology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor

CAROL MACLENNAN

Co-Advisor

SUSAN MARTIN

Abstract

This thesis is a study of the gender relations of the residents of Aguirre, Puerto Rico, between 1940 and 1991. The primary goal of the project was to explore how gender roles and relations in the Aguirre community were impacted by the social class system introduced by the Aguirre Sugar Company. This project was based on the interpretation of the past and present situation of the Aguirre community using oral history, by conducting a series of interviews among its residents. The interviews resulted in three main themes. First, the concepts of `normal and natural' were used to distinguish gender roles. Second, Aguirreños identified `family as community', since through the family individuals built their gender identity and learned the basic rules of coexistence within the social hierarchy of the community. Third, although the gender and class roles were clear in the community, `resistance and negotiation' occurred in the home and at the Company between those of different gender and social classes. The Aguirre Sugar Company was one of the principal influences on the construction of the Aguirreños identity, and left a mark on the past, present and future generations.