Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

LouAnn Wurst

Committee Member 1

Steven A. Walton

Committee Member 2

Laura Walikainen Rouleau


In this thesis, I use data from Camp Au Train, a Civilian Conservation Corp camp in Michigan’s Hiawatha National Forest, as a case study to connect the everyday life of enrollees with dominant government narratives while including a focus on labor and the capitalist crisis of the Great Depression. Using the vantage point of work, play, study, and health, I integrate archaeological, historic, and photographic evidence to show contradictions between the enrollees’ real lived experience and the dominant perspectives of the CCC ‘authorities’ who organized their lives. I argue that to interpret these contradictions, the CCC needs to be connected to the larger context of labor and capitalism. These insights are crucial for understanding contemporary calls for a New New Deal to address men’s lost jobs and the ‘crisis of masculinity’ in order to make meaningful changes toward solving these real problems for the future.