Hanna Rose Shell - "Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags" - Virtual Event

Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Hanna Rose Shell

Hanna Rose Shell will discuss Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags. She will be joined in conversation by Emily Cockayne.

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Press

Virtual event


About the book: The history of modern-day old clothes recycling begins with a thing called shoddy. Starting in the early 1800s, shoddy was the name given to a new material made from reclaimed wool, and to one of the earliest forms of industrial recycling. In Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags, Hanna Rose Shell takes readers on a journey to discover shoddy, from Haiti to the “shoddy towns” of West Yorkshire in England, to the United States, back in time to the British cholera epidemics and the American Civil War, and into agricultural fields, textile labs, and rag-shredding factories. Shoddy moves between genres, bringing richly drawn characters and unexpected objects to life. Along the way, shoddy becomes equally an evocative object and a portal into another world.

About the author: Hanna Rose Shell studies aesthetics, media archaeology, textiles, and the interface of art and science; her scholarship takes the form of text and film. Shell’s book on camouflage, Hide and Seek: Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance, published by Zone Books in 2012, has since been translated into French (Zones Sensibles) and inspired her own and others’ multimedia works. Shell has published widely in scholarly and popular journals on subjects including taxidermy, waste processing, and the history of chronophotography. She served as co-editor for a volume on science studies published Princeton University Press and previously released an edited reprint of The Extermination of the American BisonTechnology and Culture, her scholarship has appeared in the publications Journal of Visual Culture, Configurations, History and Technology, Bidoun, Technology and Culture, Natural History and Cabinet among others.

About the interlocutor: Emily Cockayne is a cultural historian, focusing on interpersonal relationships, material culture, nuisances and domestic and street environments in England. She has two published books: Hubbub. Filth, Noise & Stench in England (2007), and Cheek by Jowl. A History of Neighbours (2012). She has also worked on the history of deafness, the human senses, early civic planning, and dogs in the late medieval and early modern period. Her third monograph, Rummage:a History of the Things We Have Reused, Recycled and Refused to Let Go, will be published by Profile Books in 2020.

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