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The Emerging Scholars Series is a partnership between the Arts & Sciences Graduate Center at William & Mary and the Williamsburg Regional Library. The series features W&M graduate students in talks hosted by the WRL intended to bring cutting-edge research to the local community.

Emily Wells, History: "Before Cottagecore: Girls and Cottages in Nineteenth-Century America"

Emily Wells headshotCottagecore is a current social media movement and aesthetic that celebrates an idealized rural life. But long before TikTok, teenage girls dreamt about living in a cottage of their very own. In this talk, Emily Wells, doctoral candidate in History, will explore nineteenth-century manuscripts written by girls to examine how they thought about cottage life. These girls interacted with a broader cultural movement that romanticized cottages as retreats that protected and nurtured white, female virtue and familial bonds. Some also imagined what it might be like to live in a cottage with only their female friends, isolated from society. Learn the history of this cultural movement and how the cottage has served as both a site of rebellion and social division.

October 5, 2022, 2 p.m., Stryker Center

Ali Macdonald, History: "Sensing Time in the 18th-Century Atlantic World"

Ali Macdonald headshotClocks feel ever-present in our lives. However, many daily tasks such as cooking, baking, and crafts rely not on the second hand but on our senses to keep time. In the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, craftspeople and artisans relied on their senses to “know time.” Whether they were brewing beer or preparing an indigo dye bath, they turned to their eyes, ears, nose, hands, and tastebuds to know when things were ready. In this talk, Ali Macdonald, doctoral candidate in History, will explore how time is sensory, using account books, instruction manuals, commonplace books, and letters, and examining surviving material objects to suggest that clock time may not be as all-consuming is it might feel.

October 19, 2022, 2 p.m., Stryker Center

Lyndi Kiple, Chemistry: "Understanding the Chemistry of Paint for Art Conservation"

kiple-headshot.jpgWhen you gaze at a painting in a museum you’re witnessing the artistry of paint on canvas, but what is paint, really? Chemists want to better understand the fundamental interactions between the key ingredients in paint: pigment and binder. In this talk, Lyndi Kiple, master’s student in Chemistry, will explain her research into the molecular nature of paint and how a deeper scientific understanding of the interactions between pigment and binder might help museums preserve their collections. Lyndi’s research uses a similar technology to MRI to safely probe the molecular environments in priceless paintings. Applying non-invasive techniques, this research aims to uncover new knowledge of how paint behaves at the molecular level to improve methods of art conservation. 

November 2, 2022, 2 p.m., Stryker Center

Rebekah Planto, Anthropology: "Archaeological investigations of the "Bacon's Castle" plantation landscape, c. 1640-1740"

planto-headshot.jpgLearn about recent archaeological explorations of the changing plantation landscape associated with Bacon’s Castle over the first century of colonial occupation. In this talk, Rebekah Planto, doctoral candidate in Anthropology, will explore tensions and transformations that cut across all domains of life in the late 17th-century Atlantic world. While the famous house (constructed ca. 1665-1675) and the eponymous Rebellion in 1676 have been well-studied, the larger early plantation landscape remains relatively obscure. Yet the legacies of this 17th-century colonial plantation remain salient today as we grapple with structural inequities and contested understandings of our collective past in Virginia and beyond. Bacon’s Castle affords a unique perspective on the deep roots and lasting legacies of colonialism and plantations in the United States.

February 16, 2023, 2 p.m., Stryker Center

Marie Pellissier, History: "Tasting History: Food and Memory in Williamsburg"

Marie Pellissier headshotColonial Williamsburg has, from its earliest days, invited visitors to step back in time and embody the past. In this talk, Marie Pellissier, doctoral candidate in History, will discuss how people in eighteenth-century Williamsburg used food to help define their relationship to England, and will follow those themes forward to the period of the Williamsburg Restoration in the early twentieth century. Learn about the ways people in Williamsburg have used food to connect with the past, and how foodways were an integral part of defining what it meant to be “colonial.” This research explores food as important aspect of local history in Williamsburg, connecting a universal, everyday human experience with larger historical forces.

March 22, 2023, 2 p.m., Stryker Center