Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Keith Byron Kirk

Second Advisor

Jesse Njus

Third Advisor

Kendra Rai

Fourth Advisor

Ryan Smith


This thesis examines the intersection of performance theory and material culture through the practices of garment reconstruction. In chapter 1, I examine key theorists in the fields of material culture and performance studies and articulate the connections between the two fields. In chapter 2, Using practice as research, I recount the experience of building reproduction garments from the eighteenth century using historically appropriate tools and methods, as well as the experience of wearing those garments. Finally, in Chapter 3, I walk through a possible historical examination of my encounter with these reconstructed garments, and consider the way in which feminine clothing in this period signified maternity -- a conclusion drawn as a result of the embodied research practices here employed. The construction of an entire period outfit acts as an embodiment of my research of the interconnected theory and the way history performs for/with modern bodies, and offers an exciting way forward for two disciplines to inform and enhance one another.


© Katharine M Given

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission