The Politics of Clothing: Rethinking Narratives of Women, Identity, and the State


East Duke Parlors

Chair: Anne Allison (Duke Cultural Anthropology).

Papers:“Women, Cloth, and the Hidden History of Property and the State in the Nineteenth-Century United States”  Laura Edwards (Duke History Department)          

“‘I Want to Wear It’: The Color of Fashionable Clothing in Mahogany (1975)” Kimberly Lamm (Duke Women’s Studies)

Laura F. Edwards is the Peabody Family Professor of History and works on the works on the nineteenth-century United States with a focus on law, gender, and race.  Her most recent book A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights came out this year with Cambridge University Press.  Her previous book, The People and Their Peace:  Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South was recognized by the American Historical Association with the Littleton-Griswold book prize and the Southern Historical Association with Charles Sydnor book prize. She has been awarded fellowships from the Newberry Library, the National Humanities Center, the NEH, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.  She is now working on a new book project, Only the Clothes on Her Back: Women, Textiles, and State Formation in the Nineteenth Century United States.

Kimberly Lamm is Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies. She is currently completing her first book, The Poetics of Address: Writing the Other Woman in Contemporary Art and has published widely in the fields of contemporary art, poetry, and poetics as well as late nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and visual culture. She recently edited a special issue of Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory titled “Texting Girls: Words, Images, and Sounds in Neoliberal Cultures of Femininity.” She is currently working on a new book project, tentatively titled “Fabricating Truths: Clothing, Fashion, and the Legacies of Enslavement.”