Sophie White

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
  • African History
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The study of clothing offers a distinctive methodological approach to understanding the Atlantic world. It engages with key questions such as the movement of people—and of things—around the Atlantic (as well as between the Atlantic and the wider world). It also offers an especially rich means of uncovering the lived experiences of inhabitants of the Atlantic basin through their projection of a visual and three-dimensional expression of identity. Because the history of dress as an academic discipline first developed in Europe as an offshoot of art history, readers will note a preponderance of scholarship on Europe, especially England. As this interdisciplinary field has expanded to encompass approaches from the social sciences and humanities, and reflecting the interest in Atlantic studies, the focus of dress history has expanded immeasurably to address topics such as the construction of gender and of race in colonial contexts. Indeed, in its broadest definition, dress encompasses apparel, accessories, hairstyling, even tattoos, and everyone—not simply those who have left us documentary sources for writing the history of the Atlantic world—wore some form of dress. The analysis of clothing is therefore especially valuable in illuminating the lives of the nonliterate and the colonized. Finally, because clothing is a form of material culture, it is highly recommended that readers consult the Oxford Bibliographies article on Material Culture.

Article.  7945 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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