Pre/Early Modern Forum: Sylvia Houghteling (Bryn Mawr)
The Pre/Early Modern Forum is delighted to announce the upcoming HYBRID talk by Dr. Sylvia W. Houghteling, Assistant Professor of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. The event will take place in Loria 250 on November 7th (Monday), at 4pm EST and also on Zoom (see information on poster).
Dr. Houghteling’s talk is titled “Seasonal Pathways and Memories of Place: Traces of the Textile Trade in Mughal South Asia,’” an abstract of which is included below:
This talk traces the seasonal pathways of cloth and the memories of place that textiles carried as they moved within the early modern Mughal Empire. While the long-distance, global trade in South Asian textiles represented a vital part of the early modern economy and initiated consequential changes in the worldwide production of cloth, the internal commerce in textiles within South Asia exceeded the export trade in scale but has been less studied in a field of scholarship that has focused primarily on the trade to Europe. On a material level, when textileobjects moved at this more bounded scale, they carried sensory traces of their origins that would disappear at longer distances along damp, maritime routes, be it the scent of flowers and musk that clung to clothing, or the vitality of a cloth dyed with the bright-pink safflower colorant that would fade with light. By examining the transit of textiles within South Asia, this project refocuses attention on questions of local ecology and regional poetry that shaped the meaning of cloth in the Mughal Empire.
Dr. Houghteling specializes in early modern visual and material culture with a focus on the history of textiles, South Asian art and architecture, and the material legacies and ruptures of European colonialism. Her first book, The Art of Cloth in Mughal India (Princeton University Press, 2022), was a recipient of a College Art Association Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant. Her ongoing research is concerned with questions of temporality and the unique material histories of the Indian Ocean trade.