William & Mary
Directory Page Title

Regina Root

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies (On Leave 2015-2016)

Office: Washington Hall 208
Phone: (757) 221-7728
Email: [[raroot]]

Areas of Specialization

Root's research interests include the material and environmental culture of the Americas. She is the editor of The Latin American Fashion Reader (Berg Publishers 2005), which takes a broad look at the influence of Latin American culture on global fashion trends.  The volume was awarded the 2006 Arthur P. Whitaker Prize, shortlisted for the 2006 Costume Society of America Millia L. Davenport Award, and chosen as Elle’s book of the month in June 2005 (Argentine edition) and lead title in Berg's new online library.  Couture and Consensus:  Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina, which began as an archival project conducted under the auspices of a Fulbright research grant, was published in 2010 as part of the University of Minnesota Press’s Cultural Studies of the Americas series.  In recent years, Root has served as consulting editor of Latin American Women Writers:  An Encyclopedia (Routledge 2008), guest editor of Fashion Theory, and as a reviewer or consultant to various agencies, museums, NGOs and publishers.  She currently serves on the research council of Raíz Diseño, a transnational network of Latin American designers; as President Ad Honorem of Ixel Moda; and as Past President of the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies.


Originally trained as a journalist, Regina Root went on to complete her Master's in Spanish at the University of Iowa and Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of California at Berkeley (1997).  She teaches courses at all levels, including Words of the Earth, Cultural Constructions of the Environment, and Fashioning the Nation.  She is also a core faculty member of the Environmental Science and Policy, Latin American Studies, and the Sharpe community scholars program.  Her work with students in the field of environmental culture, new media and creative agency are featured in a university documentary on innovations in teaching with technology (scroll to 6:28): http://swem.blip.tv/file/167857/

For the past two years, she has taught a two-semester service-learning course on Ethical Fashion for the Sharpe Community Scholars Program, inspired by work conducted in the field of fashion studies currently.  She is also interviewed regularly by the international fashion press, with Canal 23 of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, having dedicated a half hour television show to her research.


A selection of Root's publications includes:

Couture & Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina (U. of Minnesota, 2010)

Couture and ConsensusThe intersection of fashion and politics in nineteenth-century Argentina

Following Argentina’s revolution in 1810, the dress of young patriots inspired a nation and distanced its politics from the relics of Spanish colonialism. Fashion writing often escaped the notice of authorities, allowing authors to masquerade political ideas under the guise of frivolity and entertainment. In Couture and Consensus, Regina A. Root maps this pivotal and overlooked facet of Argentine cultural history, showing how politics emerged from dress to disrupt authoritarian practices and stimulate creativity in a newly independent nation.

Drawing from genres as diverse as fiction, poetry, songs, and fashion magazines, Root offers a sartorial history that produces an original understanding of how Argentina forged its identity during the regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1829–1852), a critical historical time. Couture and Consensus closely analyzes military uniforms, women’s dress, and the novels of the era to reveal fashion’s role in advancing an agenda and disseminating political goals, notions Root connects to the contemporary moment.

An insightful presentation of the discourse of fashion, Couture and Consensus also paints a riveting portrait of Argentine society in the nineteenth century—its politics, people, and creative forces.

See the University of Minnesota Press page dedicated to this book for more details.

Articles in the Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (Oxford:  Berg Publishers and Oxford UP, 2010), volume 2 (Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Margot Blum Schevill):  “Dress and Fashion in Argentina” with Laura Novik, 432-438; Dress, Body and Culture in Brazil” with Rita Andrade, 421-425; “History of Dress in Southern Cone” with Carol Garcia, Eva Medalla and Laura Novik,  426-431; “Snapshot:  Raíz Diseño – A Nongovernmental Organization”, 454-455.

Articles in the Encyclopedia of Latin American Women Authors, eds. María Claudia Andre and Eva Bueno (London and New York:  Routledge, 2008): "Anacristina Rossi", 459-460; and “Cecilia Vicuña,” 539-541.

"La moda ética en América Latina," Estudios  16.32 (2008): 305-314.  With Alex Blanch and Laura Novik.  

Ecofashion, special issue of Fashion Theory 12.4 (2008).

"Fashion and Appearance," for the Latin American volume (no. 2) of The World Popular Culture Encyclopedia (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006)

"Antonio Cornejo Polar y la pedagogia de la posibilidad," Revista de Critica Literaria Latinoamericana 31:62 (2006): 73-83.