Making Change Materialize: An Archaeology of Social Reform in the Age of Obama


DOI: 10.1007/s10761-014-0259-0

Cite this article as:
Kruczek-Aaron, H. Int J Histor Archaeol (2014) 18: 299. doi:10.1007/s10761-014-0259-0


The 2008 American presidential election led some to believe that an era of possibility had finally dawned. But change remains elusive, and questions about how to advance social justice causes persist in the age of Obama. Critical examinations of past social movements help answer these questions, and to this end I offer research on Smithfield and North Elba, two New York towns imagined as utopias by reformer Gerrit Smith (1797–1874). While some have emphasized a narrative of utopia realized, research on the artifacts, landscapes, and texts associated with them has revealed past struggles and knowledge of what hinders future imaginaries.


ReformActivist archaeologyHeritageUtopia

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySUNY PotsdamPotsdamUSA