Research

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I am currently a a McKenzie Fellow in History at the University of Melbourne. I have previously been a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Western Australia and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Sydney.

Projects:

Whaling, the Baleen Trade, and the Ecologies of Fashion Innovation in Early Modern Europe.

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This project examines one of the turning points in early modern fashion innovation and industry: the widespread use of baleen. This research uncovers the story of how baleen irrevocably changed the market for consumer goods, and consequently the European relationship between fashion and ecology, between the years 1500-1800.  It will utilise records in British and French collections, alongside experimental and interdisciplinary methodologies like stable isotope anlaysis and mtDNA analysis, to trace the journey this animal product took from whale to toilette. This interdisciplinary project has three objectives: a critical assessment of the economic and environmental impact of the early modern baleen trade; an analysis of the centrality of baleen to the early modern European textile economy and trades; and an analysis of the materiality, consumer choices, and demands that dictated the use of baleen in male and female dress and decorative arts objects. Through collaborations with colleagues in the sciences this project also explores new ways of using scientific and archaeological technologies to examine early modern dress and decorative arts objects.

 

Shaping Femininity (forthcoming monograph)

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In January 2018 I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney Australia. My first monograph, Shaping Femininity, expands on this research and is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic/Visual Arts. Shaping Femininity is the first large-scale study of the production, consumption, and meanings of foundation garments for women in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England. The desirable body during this period was achieved by using two types of foundation garments: bodies (corsetry) and farthingales (structured underskirts). It was this structured female silhouette, first seen in sixteenth-century fashionable dress, that existed in various extremes in Western Europe and beyond until the early twentieth century. By utilising a wide array of archival and early printed materials, visual sources and material objects, as well as historical reconstruction, Shaping Femininity reorients discussions about female foundation garments by exploring the nuances of these items of material culture in the context of their own times. It argues that these objects of material culture shaped understandings of the female body and of ideas of social status, sexuality, and modesty in early modern England, and thus, enduring western notions of femininity.

 

The Gendered Materiality of War

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From 2018-2020 I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Western Australia, working on the ARC-funded project Gendering the Italian Wars. My role in the project examined the movement of elite fashions across Europe during this tumultuous period of the sixteenth century. My work focuses on how items of material culture, namely hat badges (enseignes) and armour, were utilised in order to project princely power and military prowess by those involved in the Habsburg-Valois Wars such as Charles V and Francis I.

 

If you would like to read any of my articles but do not have institutional access please email me, I am more than happy to share them via private correspondence.

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