Marie-Louise Nosch gave The Iris Foundation Awards Lecture on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm. Her talk was entitled “Texts and Textiles.”

Marie-Louise Nosch was the recipient of the 2017 Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar. She is an historian and founder and Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research (CTR) at the University of Copenhagen and the National Museum of Denmark. Since 2009, she has also been Professor of Ancient History at the University of Copenhagen. She received her PhD from the University of Salzburg in 2000 with a thesis on Mycenaean textile administration in Linear B and has subsequently merged Linear B studies with experimental archaeology and the study of textile tools. As Director of CTR, she has launched research programs that combine archaeology, history, philology, and the natural sciences. She is author and co-author of works on Aegean Late Bronze Age textile production in the Mycenaean palace economies, and editor of numerous books on textile history and archaeology.

Textiles accompany us throughout life, from swaddling clothes to funerary shrouds, a flexible and accessible material through which we express gender, age, and status. As a techno-complex, textile crafts predate metallurgy and even pottery. Our history and identity have been shaped by their materiality and technology, as their manifestations in language, iconography, and symbolism make clear. It is by no means a coincidence that the Industrial Revolution was sparked off by the textile industries, dramatically speeding up the production times of this extremely time-consuming craft and changing the global landscape. Consequently textiles became one of the universal mediums of communication, exchange, and identity, crossing and linking different cultures, social classes, technologies, markets, and genders. The materiality of textiles is central to these processes: wherever they are produced and consumed, they bring people, bodies, and things together, more than any other medium or material. The topic is universal and its study comprises theoretical approaches as well as technical material investigations and scientific analyses. In this lecture, Nosch focused on the intersection of texts and textiles, drawing on examples from both history and archaeology.