Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk
Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.
Politics of Taste
Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.close