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The Archaeology of Identity: Excavating Martha Jefferson's Entanglements

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Published on Jun 11, 2012

While every American school kid knows about President Thomas Jefferson, few know about his wife. Virginia Scarf's intimate look at the \"Women Jefferson Loved\" added to Jefferson's biography and seems on the surface to be a revelation of the degradation even wealthy white women lived with during the late 18th century. But what Scarf's text really does is to provide a panoramic view of the repetitions of family patterns and then brings under the microscope the details of how we relive the painful stories of our ancestors. The authors of this paper chose to examine these patterns in Jefferson's family history and observe them through systemic constellation theory as a way to understand that Mrs. Jefferson could do or be little else than what she was. Systemic constellation theory allows us to move past the history into the deepest cavern of the ancestral mind who, we believe, is like the proverbial archaeologist, determined to bring to the surface our most destructive patterns and entanglements for completion.
(By: Dr. Carol Atkinson Professor of Digital Media, Department of Communication & Sociology, University of Central Missouri and Dr. Carol Benton Professor of Communication, Department of Communication & Sociology, University of Central Missouri )

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