In the wake of the white-supremacist terrorism of August 11-13, we wish to highlight and paraphrase some of the comments of Ian Baucom, Dean of Arts and Sciences:
Be assured that the Art Department remains a space where all can pursue the dialogue that counters the lies of racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and nativism.
We are prepared to stand up for and support those who have been singled out as targets for hatred. The courage of free thought opposing cowardice and bigotry endures and persists here despite violence.


Hands-on History in Florence and Lyon

Hands-on History in Florence and Lyon: for this project, I made a research trip to investigate the historical transfer of technology in the silk weaving centres of the Mediterranean, in part designed to inspire teaching about the production of luxury goods in the early modern period. This video shows a contemporary silk weaver using a 200-year-old loom to make a velvet fabric, which in turn illustrates the complexity of the process and the importance of skill, material, and equipment. Undergraduates at all levels have been engaged in watching these videos, looking at accompanying images and analyzing samples of cloth; in doing this, they envision more fully and more vividly how craft, mass-production, and technology have shaped the modern world.

This research project is generously funded by the Vice Provost of the Arts.

Video made by author at the Fondazione Lisio Arte della Seta, Florence.

Video used courtesy of Marina Contro.