Work of the Fellows: Monographs

The Material Atlantic: Clothing, Commerce, and Colonization in the Atlantic World, 1650-1800

DuPlessis, Robert S. (Fellow, 2008-09)

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2022

From the publisher's description:

In this wide-ranging account, Robert DuPlessis examines globally sourced textiles that by dramatically altering consumer behaviour, helped create new economies and societies in the early modern world. This deeply researched history of cloth and clothing offers new insights into trade patterns, consumer demand and sartorial cultures that emerged across the Atlantic world between the mid-seventeenth and late-eighteenth centuries. As a result of European settlement and the construction of commercial networks stretching across much of the planet, men and women across a wide spectrum of ethnicities, social standings and occupations fashioned their garments from materials old and new, familiar and strange, and novel meanings came to be attached to different fabrics and modes of dress. The Material Atlantic illuminates crucial developments that characterised early modernity, from colonialism and slavery to economic innovation and new forms of social identity. Shows how globally sourced goods shaped the material existence of virtually every group in the Atlantic basin during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; illuminates the experiences of enslaved men and women as well as free settlers in colonial empires; richly illustrated with examples of the attire of different social and cultural groups across the Atlantic basin.


Subjects: History; Textiles; Trade; Material Culture; Colonialism; Economic History; Cultural History