Material Culture

Historians with an interest in material culture deal with the physical manifestations and traces of the past, from wooden legal documents and stone inscriptions to maps, art, clothing, and statues. What can bindings tell us about texts, paper about the development of legal precedent, the plans of houses about social rituals? The study of goods, objects, and the built environment focuses attention on practices of consumption, trade, and the intimacies of daily life. Objects, distributions of remains, and spatial configurations all contribute to our understanding of the past, and their study is part of the crafting of new questions and the increasing interdisciplinarity of historical study. Historians in the Corcoran Department with these interests also tend to be active in the events and programming of other departments (such as Art History) and national organizations that are not specifically historical, such as the Archaeological Institute of America. The visualization of this evidence also leads us to be very active in various digital humanities initiatives, supported at the University of Virginia by the Scholars' Lab and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.


Graduate Student

Office Hours: I'm not teaching this semester, so please email me if you want to meet in person or on zoom.
Themes: Labor History, Material Culture


Julian Bishko Professor of History, Professor of Law
Nau 454
Office Hours: ON LEAVE
Themes: Empire & Colonialism, Legal History, Material Culture, Transnational and Diplomatic History
Associate Professor of French
317A Cabell Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, Labor History, Material Culture, Political History
Louis Nelson
Professor of Architectural History, Associate Dean in the School of Architecture
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, History of Slavery, Material Culture, Race & Ethnicity
photo of Kristina Richardson taken by Jeneene Chatowsky
John L. Nau III Professor of the History and Principles of Democracy, Professor of History and Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures
Nau 295
Themes: History of Slavery, Material Culture, Race & Ethnicity
Associate Professor of History, Affiliated Faculty, Department of French
Nau 354
Office Hours: TR, 11:00AM-1:00PM; Students should schedule meetings at
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, Legal History, Material Culture, Military & War History, Political History, Race & Ethnicity, Spatial History, Frontiers, & Migration, Transnational and Diplomatic History
256 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays: 10-11am; Thursdays, 12:30-1:30 pm; and by appointment
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Material Culture, Political History, Women, Gender, & Sexuality