about dr cynthia chin kirk



Dr Cynthia Chin Kirk (Dr. Cynthia E. Chin, Dr. Cynthia McGinnis Riddle Chin) is an art and material culture historian of #VastEarlyAmerica and Britain in the eighteenth century, specializing in dress, textiles, identity, and collecting.


She is a researcher at the University of Glasgow and the co-founder of  Materializing Race.



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 “un-conferences," 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.


affliations & Fellowships

As a PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow Cynthia explores #VastEarlyAmerica, British, and European dress, textiles, and art, 1600-1830 and how collections and museum acquisitions strategies shaped understandings of early America.


She was a 2020-21 Research Fellow at the Washington Library in Mount Vernon, Virginia, and earned her doctorate in early American material culture from Georgetown University in 2019.

Winterthur Cotton.jpg

The Female Combatants, or Who Shall?

Print, etching and engraving, hand-colored

Possibly London, 1776

Yale University

Lewis Walpole Library


Printed Linen Textile

Philadelphia, PA

Walters & Bedwell

Made possibly by enslaved labor

Winterthur Museum