My dissertation, “Dressing Authority: The Politics of Fashion in English Women’s Writing, 1616-1676,” thinks through representations of apparel as sites of political power in seventeenth century women’s writing. Examining writings by Margaret Cavendish, Anne Clifford, Mary Carleton, Lucy Hutchinson, and others, I argue that discourses of resistant dress underscore the limits of Royalist/Stuart politics, responding with alternative sites of local, aristocratic, and non-legislative political power. I consider diverse forms of sartorial speech, from locally-produced textiles to spectacular widow ensembles to possibly-counterfeit jewels, showing how apparel advances loyal-but-resistant political agendas for seventeenth-century women.

In my second project, I build upon my research on representations of the early modern widow, examining the circulatory iconographic language that links widowhood in drama, prose fiction, and portraiture to the prolific representations of widows seen in cheap print of the period, especially in broadside ballads and moralizing religious chapbooks from the 1650’s-1680’s.