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Greene Farm Archaeology Project

Ph.D. 2008, Department of American Civilization, Brown University.

Co-principal investigator, Greene Farm Archaeology Project.

Visiting Faculty, Rhode Island School of Design, [link]; Visiting Scholar, Department of American Civilization

My research interests are Material culture studies; Global history; Historical archaeology; Maritime Studies; and Interdisciplinarity.

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Dissertation Summary:

"China as Object and Idea in the Making of an American Identity, 1690-1790" is an interdisciplinary project that addresses America’s commercial and ideological connections to China before and immediately after the opening of the American China trade in the 1780s. Each chapter integrates an examination of Chinese objects in the colonies—primarily porcelain and lacquer—with historic documents to give a fuller understanding of the significance of China to the northern British plantations in the decades preceding the American mercantile onslaught of the East. I argue that Americans in the northern seaports were competitively motivated by the lucrative China trade and compelled to view themselves vis-à-vis China, just as all other Old World states did, and ultimately their drive for Chinese wealth and commodities promoted the formation of an American state identity.

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Soft-paste porcelain statues from the Chinese county of Dehua, similar to the 19th-century Guanyin above, were found on American mantel pieces as early as the 17th-century. They were called "India Images" in estate inventories.

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