In a commitment to fostering nuanced interpretations of early American objects and meaningful dialogue on historical constructions of race and their legacies, we propose the creation of a virtual community through a series of virtual “unconferences” to share and discuss scholarship on the intersections of identity and material culture in #VastEarlyAmerica.


These open sessions seek to promote a diverse cross-section of scholarship energized by Dr. Karin Wulf’s call for broader, more inclusive histories of early America


The beauty of material culture is that it often takes non-verbal forms, in the process bearing witness to the lives and experiences of those absent from or written out of traditional archival records. With participant-driven, virtual conferences and a desire to explore other forms of interrogation and connection, we are committed to recovering those stories through object-centered scholarship.


Materializing Race is an independent initiative run entirely by volunteers who do not receive compensation for this work. We are grateful to our panelists and participants who generously donate their time and expertise to Materializing Race


Thank you for being the core of our community and the embodiment of our vision.


Dr. Cynthia Chin
Research Fellow, The Washington Library
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Philippe Halbert
Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University

Peruvian woman holding a fan and embroidered cumbi

Date: circa 1700

Place: Viceroyalty of Peru

Maker: Unknown

Location: Christie's