Paula Hohti, Eva Andersson Strand, Luise Ørsted Brandt, and Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, from 12 to 1:30pm, at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Their talk is entitled “From Ancient to Modern, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Textile Research.”

Paula Hohti is a British-educated art historian, with extensive experience in material culture studies. She has previously worked on artisan cultures in Renaissance Italy and is currently finishing her book on the topic. Her new research project, titled “Global Encounters: Fashion, culture and foreign textile trade in Scandinavia, 1550-1650,” focuses on Scandinavian dress and textile trade. Hohti has held research positions at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and the European University in Florence, and she has been a principal investigator in two major international projects, the Material Renaissance and Fashioning the Early Modern, led by Prof. Evelyn Welch. She is currently an Associate Professor and a Marie Curie research fellow at the Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, where she is developing new cross-disciplinary methods in textile and fashion history and directing a research program on early modern clothing cultures (CCCC).

Eva Andersson
Strand is an archaeologist. Her primary area of research is textile production, craft organization, and trade in Iron Age and Viking Age Scandinavia. She also specializes in in the Bronze Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. In her textile research, she focuses on the study of textile tools and their find contexts. Furthermore, in her research she has developed methods in experimental archaeology and collaborates with textile technicians. Anderssonn Strand received her PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology from Lund University, Sweden, and finished her habilitation in 2012 and was promoted docent at Lund University. She is one of the initiators of The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research (CTR) where she holds the position of associate professor. Andersson Strand manages several international research projects, among others, Invisible Craft, the Landscape of Textile Production and Tools and Textiles – Texts and Contexts textile production in Bronze Age Mediterranean (together with Marie-Louise Nosch).

Trained as a prehistoric archaeologist, Luise Ørsted Brandt specialized and was trained in the analysis of DNA from archaeological material. During her M.A. In her thesis, she proved that DNA from archaeological textiles can be extracted and sequenced. In her PhD project, she is using bio molecular methods to (a) study the development of wool in ancient Danish sheep and (b) species-identify skins from Danish bogs. Her profile is strongly interdisciplinary, and her strength as an archaeologist is that she can ask archaeological questions and know what methods can be applied to yield answers to these. Also, she is very interested in the discussion of preservation conditions and sampling strategies of cultural heritage items.

After having finished his studies of Classical Philology at the University of Valencia (Spain), Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant at the Department of Classical Philology and Indo-European Studies of the University of Salamanca, where he got his Ph.D. in 2009, and as a Research Assistant at the Institut für Iranistik of the Freie Universität in Berlin (2010-2013). His academic profile is focused in Old and Middle Iranian languages and literatures and Zoroastrianism, with special attention to the Avestan and Pahlavi written transmission and the critical edition of normative texts. Currently he is a Marie Curie Fellow at the CTR of the University of Copenhagen, where he works on the project “Zoroastrian Text(ile)s: Regulations, Symbolism, Identity.”

Their presentations at the BGC will provide an overview of the new cross-disciplinary methods and approaches to the study of ancient textiles, developed at the Centre for Textile Research, Copenhagen. By presenting three case studies from the point of view of archaeology, philology and natural sciences, the aim is to demonstrate how historical research in textiles and raw materials can benefit from methods such as experimental archaeology and DNA analysis. The first case study, presented by the archaeologist Eva Andersson Strand, shows how traditional craft knowledge of textile techniques and tools can be combined with experimental textile archaeology, in dialogue with ethnographical investigations. The second one, presented by the scientist Luise Ørsted Brandt, focuses on the extraction and sequencing of ancient DNA and proteins, providing us with the opportunity to characterize the ancient sheep that provided wool for wool textile production and the animals species that yielded skins for skin clothing. The final case study, based on the study of the philologist Miguel Ángel Andres Toledo, explores the vivid descriptions of the luxurious adornments and dress of a goddess in the Zoroastrian literature, exploring some of the religious and moral dilemmas that are associated with the material of her garments. All three presentations, in one way or the other, reflect the Centre’s long-standing ambition to combine the Northern European scientific and experimental research in textiles and tools, and the Southern European historical, iconographical and epigraphic approaches, in order to produce new perspectives into academic work.

Coffee and tea will be served; attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.

RSVP is required.