Invisible Makers: Textiles, Dress, and Marginalized People in 18th- and 19th-Century America

Laurie Nivison's picture

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Type: 
Symposium
Date: 
April 10, 2021
Location: 
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, African American History / Studies, Public History

Globalized manufacturing in the 21st century has stimulated a greater need to understand where, how, by whom, and under what conditions our clothing is made. In the past, the weaving of textiles and making of everyday clothing has largely been perceived as anonymous, most especially with regard to marginalized people living in white societies. Research into the efforts of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to design, produce, acquire, and modify textiles and dress within the Anglo-European, North American framework has historically been difficult to quantify because of a paucity of surviving evidence as well as limited attempts both past and present to record and credit those efforts. This forum details contributions of often-overlooked populations in American society to the textile and clothing trades, and promises to enrich and deepen current conversations about fashion both past and present.

Join Historic Deerfield on April 10th to hear lectures from a dynamic roster of academic and museum professionals discussing examples of the important roles and contributions of BIPOC textile and clothing producers and consumers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Presented as case studies, the research includes textiles and clothing produced by forced labor within plantations; people of color working as tailors and dressmakers in Massachusetts; and marginalized people who fashioned their dressed bodies using Anglo-European garments in ways that both subverted normative styles while expressing “other” cultural identities. 

This program will be presented live via Zoom webinar. The link to the webinar will be sent to registrants prior to the event. Recordings will be available to registrants for a period of two weeks after each session.

Contact Info: 

Julie Orvis
Historic Deerfield
P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, MA 01342
(413) 775-7179 or jorvis@historic-deerfield.org