Call for Panelists: The Uses and Abuses of Fashion in the Early Republic

Rachel Walker's picture

Hello historians, 

A co-panelist and I are looking to organize a panel on the politics of beauty and fashion for the SHEAR 2019 conference. We know it's a bit late, but if anyone is interested, we're still looking for another presenter, a panel chair, and a commentator. 

We're interested in broad questions:

  • What did it mean to "look" like an American citizen in the early republic?
  • How did Americans use physical characteristics to exhibit and evaluate social status?
  • How did people manipulate their fashion choices for economic and political aims?
  • And how did ideas about physical beauty shape power relationships?

We'd be interested in anyone working on:

  • issues of appearance in early America
  • the politics of race, gender, and beauty
  • visual and material culture
  • fashion, capitalism, and consumer culture
  • manliness and masculinity
  • history of the human body
  • beauty, science, and medicine
  • history of photography
  • and anything else that you think might work!

Please send a CV and short abstract to

Many thanks, 

Rachel Walker
Assistant Professor of History
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Ave
West Hartford, CT 06117
(860) 768-4302