Needlework as a Reflection of Changing Ideologies in the Era of Industrialization

One thing is for sure about this quarter in historical archaeology, I have learned a lot about how to keep a critical eye.

For my final project, I wanted to do some research about the evolution of knitting, as I am an avid knitter. Originally, I wanted to write an object biography about the way that knitting has changed, but it’s history is too long and consistent to show the change I wanted to.

After looking at the strong sources I was able to find, I realized that they all hovered around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. They described issues of the distribution of labor, gender, and race, however, I noticed a glaring problem in the current research. Many sources included issues of labor and gender, or gender and race, or race and labor, but I could not find any sources that discussed all three.

I struggled with this for a long time. I knew it would propel my argument if I could find any studies or analyses that used that intersectional mindset. After hours of banging my head against the laptop, a sudden light shone down from the heavens. I realized that my research paper, my analysis, IS the juxtaposition that I’d been looking for.

In the end, my critical eye turned into a reflective lens, and I am thankful that I now have the tools to use both.

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