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The Ecology of Materials: Chita as a Tangible Means to an Intangible Heritage<p><strong>Dilia López-Gydosh</strong>, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies and Director/Curator of the Fashion and Textile Collection. Her research interests include Nineteenth through twenty-first century fashion, the historical and cultural aspects of Latinx dress, and the practice of artifact-based dress history in the academic fashion and textile collection. Her teaching focuses on the history of dress and fashion, dress and world cultures, the management of fashion and textile collections As a dress and fashion historian, her scholarly work is embedded in artifact-based dress history in the academic fashion and textile collection.  López-Gydosh shares her expertise in the classroom, through curated exhibitions, publications and presentations.  Curation as a form of design research generates outcomes including exhibitions, digital archives, and publications. When examined from both historical and contemporary perspectives, as well as through analysis of cultural differences, clothing and appearance contribute to our understanding of the world. <br></p><p><strong>Kelly Cobb</strong> is an Associate Professor in The Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on sustainability in the fashion industry, fashion communication and creative strategy.  She conducts creative research in textiles, addressing wicked problems (overconsumption/textile waste, health/well-being) through project-based works that vary in scope, yet all have the textile as a point of entry or common thread. Derived from practice (from touching, making, learning and doing through studio practice) her approach to design research adopts fiber, weave, dye, print processes as both method and metaphor in the creation of new knowledge.  Materiality is a way of thinking, informing us through relationship to nature, humanity and to each other and the world around us. <br></p><p><strong>Carla Guerrón Montero </strong>is a cultural and applied anthropologist trained in the United States and Latin America and specialized in studies of the African diaspora.  Dr. Guerrón Montero studies the complex and multiple meanings and representations of identity among marginalized populations in modern Latin American and Caribbean nation-states (more specifically in Panama, Ecuador, Grenada, and most recently, Brazil).  She explores how Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean populations create and represent their identities historically, using a framework that considers the political economy and other variables that generate the generally oppressive or neglectful nation-states to which these populations belong, their contributions to nation and region formation, and the changes that result from more recent global phenomena, such as tourism.  Within these processes, she examines issues related to representations of culturally racialized and gendered identities manifested through music, cuisine, ritual, and festivities.</p>2022<p>​The textile chita is a great example of what anthropologist Daniel Miller (2005) calls "the humility of things" (2005:5), that is, the ability of certain objects to dissipate, to become invisible and unconspicuous. In this multidisciplinary study of chita, we propose to bring to life, to make visible and explicit, the crucial role of this humble textile in the history of Brazilian identities as an illustration of the possibilities of material culture studies. Using the example of chita, we will demonstrate that a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and speculative approach to study the "ecology of the materials" (Ingold 2012) can result in a deep and nuanced understanding of the power relations embedded in material culture. Our project imagines the "creative use of collections" (i.e. textile holdings of The Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, personal wardrobes, Goodwill resale, brick and mortar retail) as a springboard for cultural, critical and creative discussion. Students from three courses will work collectively this spring to (a) Trace and deconstruct the Brazilian textile Chita, primarily through visual, contextual, and comparative analysis;(b) Guide critical discussions about beliefs, values, assumptions, and culture formation through material culture analysis; and (c) Co-design a speculative exercise in culture building, developing a print/color campaign. Artifacts and narratives will be housed in a signature 3D Virtual repository. <br></p>dlopezgy kcobb cguerron

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