Pub. Date:
The University of North Carolina Press
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery / Edition 1

Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery / Edition 1

by John Michael Vlach
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Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807844120
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 05/28/1993
Series: Fred W. Morrison Series in Southern Studies
Edition description: 1
Pages: 278
Sales rank: 1,111,054
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

John Michael Vlach is professor of American studies and anthropology and director of the folklife program at The George Washington University. His books include The Planter's Prospect: Privilege and Slavery in Plantation Paintings and The Afro-American Tradition in the Decorative Arts.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Vlach interweaves contemporary reports, oral histories of former slaves and archaeological evidence of surviving outbuildings in an unemotional but powerful manner.—New York Times Book Review

Splendid. Using photographs and drawings from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) dating back to the 1930s, oral histories of former slaves taken by the Federal Writers Program, antebellum travel accounts and agricultural journals, modern agricultural histories, and the vast literature on the history of slavery, Vlach deftly weaves an account of plantation life in the slave's territory, back of the 'Big House.'—Design Book Review

This is a solid piece of documentation which forcefully illuminates a neglected yet pivotal aspect of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century reality.—Maryland Historical Magazine

John Michael Vlach proves himself America's foremost scholar of African American material culture in this gracefully written and profusely illustrated examination of the vernacular architecture of plantation slavery. Drawing upon the best of folklife studies, architectural history, cultural geography, and historical archaeology as well as the records of the Historical American Buildings Survey and his own extensive fieldwork, Vlach has produced an indispensable study.—Charles Joyner, author of Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community

One of the most user-friendly studies of African-American material culture ever written.—American Historical Review

Contribute[s] significantly to the architectural no less than the social history of the United States from colonization to the Civil War.—Journal of the Early Republic

"A visually stimulating, engagingly written introduction to this important aspect of southern culture.—Southern Cultures

Vlach expands our understanding of slave life while illuminating the little-known world of antebellum southern agriculture. Back of the Big House confirms Vlach as the preeminent scholar of African-American material culture.—Dell Upton, University of California, Berkeley

John Vlach's Back of the Big House uses material culture to make important statements about slave culture and society in particular and Southern culture and society in general. His images from the Historic American Buildings Survey evoke the antebellum South better, perhaps, than ever before.—Daniel C. Littlefield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

[Vlach] presents us with a book that is at once album, introduction, and overview of the complexity and diversity of southern plantation architecture.—South Carolina Historical Magazine

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