Dr. Cynthia E. McGinnis Riddle Chin/ Dr Cynthia Chin Kirk is a material culture historian specializing in the dress textiles of Anglo-America & eighteenth-century Europe.

She explores the intersections and ecologies of race, otherness, global exchange, landscape design, emotion, memory, replicated experience, the body/wearing -- and how human dignity can be preserved through new ways of looking at objects.


Learn more about her work here.

Together with Philippe Halbert (Yale University), she founded and leads Materializing Race, a virtual community committed to fostering nuanced interpretations and meaningful dialogue on historical constructions of race and their legacies. Through a series of virtual “unconferences," scholarship on the intersections of identity and material culture in #VastEarlyAmerica is discussed and shared. Follow Materializing Race on on Instagram: materializingrace, and on Twitter: @material_race.

Dr. Chin is currently a Research Fellow at the Washington Library in Mount Vernon, Virginia. In fall 2021, she will embark on a new research project at the University of Glasgow that will seek to interpret the intersections of British and French art, identities, gender, and the designed landscape in eighteenth-century textiles, and the dressed body as an extension of these often racialized spaces.    

Robe á l'anglais, detail


Cultures: China for the European market*

Medium: Silk

Credit Line: Gift of heirs of Emily Kearny Rodgers Cowenhoven, 1970

Accession Number:1970.87a, b

Public Domain

*This object description has been revised for accuracy.