Participant Info

First Name
Katie
Last Name
Knowles
Affiliation
Colorado State University
Website URL
http://avenir.colostate.edu/index.aspx
Keywords
Material culture studies, History of Clothing and Dress, History of Textiles, African American history, U.S. women, U.S. slavery, Nineteenth century U.S.
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

Katie Knowles joined the Avenir Museum and the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University as Avenir curator of collections and assistant professor in 2017.

Hailing originally from Montana, Knowles holds a PhD in history from Rice University (2014) in Houston, Texas; her dissertation title was “Fashioning Slavery: Slaves and Clothing in the United States South, 1830-1865” and she has broad research interests in United States material culture with emphases on clothing and textiles.

In addition to her scholarly training, Knowles has worked in museums for over 10 years, with curatorial and cataloging experience in a variety of museums, historic houses, and private collections including the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Nau Civil War Collection in Houston, Texas, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Knowles’ current role at CSU is a unique combination of traditional academic research and teaching mixed with curatorial work. Her research focuses on the clothing of everyday people, and Knowles strongly believes that the future of design must be informed by knowledge of both the canon of master artists as well as the influences of people typically relegated to the margins. Knowles is deeply committed to fostering inclusive and socially conscious spaces in the classroom and in the community through innovative methods of research, analysis, and teaching.

Recent Publications

Expressions of Self and Belonging: Enslaved People and Race-Based Fashion in the Antebellum U.S. South.” In Writing History from the Margins: African Americans and the Quest for Freedom, edited by Claire Parfait, Hélène Le Dantec-Lowry, and Claire Bourhis-Mariotti. London: Routledge, 2017.

A Tree with Many Branches: Clara Ellis Payne’s Genealogy.” Stories on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture website. 2016.

Ease on Down the Road: A ‘Super Soul Musical’ Celebrates African American Culture.” Stories on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture website. 2015.

We Are Family: Kinship Bonds that Survived Bondage.” Stories on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture website. 2015.

The Marvelous Musical Prodigy: Thomas Greene ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins.” Stories on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture website. 2015.

“No Cotton in the Kingdom: Textiles in the Civil War South.” The Civil War and the Material Culture of Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest, vol. 3, The David B. Warren Symposium. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2012.

Fashioning Slavery: Slaves and Clothing in the United States South, 1830-1865.” Dress: The Journal of the Costume Society of America. Stella Blum Research Grant final report. 38, no. 1 (2012): 24-36.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Gender, Material Culture, Museums, Public History, Race, Sexuality, Slavery, Women