Public Lecture by Robert S. DuPlessis
Isaac H. Clothier Professor of History, Swarthmore College
In the Atlantic world between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, clothing was as fundamental to personal and group presentation as it is today. Yet even in social settings, not everyone wore apparel: individuals of each gender, various age groups, and diverse statuses regularly went naked in public�or were perceived and defined as doing so. What did public nakedness mean to the many peoples who lived in the Atlantic basin? Why did some engage in this practice? What became of social undress? This lecture offers answers to these and related questions and reveals the variety of expectations and attitudes about proper presentation of the human body, unclothed and clothed, that were found in the dynamic early modern era.