past, current, and upcoming work
KEY RESEARCH AREAS
Art and material culture in Britain and #vastearlyAmerica 1607-1830: dress, textiles, identity, and race
Collecting and the construction of a mythologized "America"
Replication as research, making, and embodied methods of understanding: eighteenth-century women's dress in North America, Britain and France; Scottish kilts and kilt-making
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
Article: Materialising the ‘Gospel of Americanism’: The Exclusionary Interpretation of Twentieth-Century Early American Period Rooms in the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum. History: Journal of the Historical Association, Women and History, c.1500-Present (September 2021), https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.13199.
Book Review: George W. Boudreau and Margaretta Markle Lovell, eds. A Material World: Culture, Society, and the Life of Things in Early Anglo-America.Winterthur Portfolio Volume 55, Number 1, Spring 2021, Enslavement and Its Legacies, https://doi.org/10.1086/714679
Book Review: The Fabric of Empire: Material and Literary Cultures of the Global Atlantic, 1650-1850, by Danielle C. Skeehan, Business History, Harvard Business School, Winter 2022
Dr Chin Kirk's academic and literary work has been featured in History, the Journal of the Historical Association (blog), Textile History, The Junto, Washington's Quill (The Washington Papers Project/The University of Virginia), Mount Vernon Magazine, What Weekly Magazine, The Saranac Review, Ellipsis: Literature and Art, The Slush Pile Magazine, The Baltimore Review, and on MountVernon.org.
Her most recent conference papers and lectures include those at the Sartorial Society Series, The University of New Hampshire, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, Yale University, and the DAR Museum in Washington, D.C.
She looks forward to presenting at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Grad and Early Career Caucus Panel, Baltimore March 31 - April 2, 2022, Reimagining the Long Eighteenth Century: Page, Stage, Screen; The Association for Dress Historians (ADH), Fashioning the Body for Sport and Leisure Conference, 30 Sept. – 1 Oct. 2022, London; and the Outlander conference at the University of Glasgow.*
*This event, originally scheduled for 2020, was postponed due to COVID-19.
Dr Chin Kirk is preparing a monograph based on her doctoral dissertation that attends to ecosystem of a single object: a unique purple silk gown owned by Martha Washington that was cared for and refashioned by Mount Vernon's enslaved seamstresses. She examines how the dress was a powerful site of their resistance, and a type of material currency in freedom.
Activating replication as a research methodology, Dr Chin Kirk will reproduce the original textile and gown to learn more the centuries of women who owned it, wore it, and those were forced to labor over it.
Top: Miniature of Martha Washington, Robert Field, 1801, Yale University Art Gallery. Middle: The Embarkation for Cythera, Jean-Antoine Watteau, oil on canvas, 1717, The Louvre. Bottom: Mount Vernon, watercolor, date unknown, The Daughters of the American Revolution Museum.