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The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi

A Historical Archaeology of Masculinity at a University Fraternity

Laurie A. Wilkie (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 360 pages
ISBN: 9780520260603
April 2010
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi takes us inside the secret, amusing, and sometimes mundane world of a California fraternity around 1900. Gleaning history from recent archaeological excavations and from such intriguing sources as oral histories, architecture, and photographs, Laurie A. Wilkie uncovers details of everyday life in the first fraternity at the University of California, Berkeley, and sets this story into the rich social and historical context of West Coast America at the turn of the last century. In particular, Wilkie examines men’s coming-of-age experiences in a period when gender roles and relations were undergoing dramatic changes. Her innovative study illuminates shifting notions of masculinity and at the same time reveals new insights about the inner workings of fraternal orders and their role in American society.
List of Figures
List of Tables

Prologue: Peering into the Rooms of a Fraternity’s Far Past

Stage Directions: Setting the Scene
Program for Act I
Act I: The Nursery: Brotherhood in the First House of Zeta Psi

Program for Act II
Act II: The Never Land: The Fraternity and the University to 1910

Program for Act III
Act III: The Mermaids’ Lagoon: Coeds and Pirates Threaten Peter’s Tribe

Program for Act IV
Act IV: The House Underground: Zeta Psi’s New House

Program for Act V
Act V: The Pirate Ship: The Public Face of Iota

Epilogue: When the Zetes Grew Up

Appendix: Membership of Zeta Psi Iota as Compiled from Alumni Registers, Wall Panels, and Yearbooks
Laurie A. Wilkie is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Archaeological Research Facility at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of the award-winning The Archaeology of Mothering: An African-American Midwife's Tale, among other books.
“A rare examination of a fraternity that neither vilifies nor glorifies Greek life but instead seeks to make deep sense of it, Wilkie’s book is a welcomed contribution.”—Journal Of American History
"Laurie Wilkie is making an important statement about the culture of fraternities, saving them from uncritical celebration on the one hand and the 'Animal House' image on the other. She has given us a fascinating case study in the value and importance of the archaeology of the recent past."—Matthew Johnson, author of Ideas of Landscape

"A fresh look at fraternity life, offering a nuanced view of its social benefits and shortcomings. This is an insightful and innovative interdisciplinary contribution to the emergent field of contemporary archaeology as well as to masculinity studies."—Mary Beaudry, author of Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing

James Deetz Book Award, Society for Historical Archaeology

Honorable Mention for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology

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