Bennion Workshop - Public Keynote Address

Domesticating Revolution: The Material Culture of Homespun Violence in the American Revolution

Zara Anishanslin headshot

Flyer - Bennion Keynote Lecture

Monday, June 24th - Merrill Cazier Library - Room 101, Utah State University, Logan Main Campus
5:00 - Reception
5:30 - Keynote Address: "Domesticating Revolution: The Material Culture of Homespun Violence in the American Revolution"
Zoom Option - Register to receive a link to view remotely
Join us for this engaging lecture on the homespun movement and violence during the American Revolution from renowned scholar Zara Anishanslin.

Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware

Zara Anishanslin is a scholar who specializes in doing history through material culture—the “historian with a thing for things.”

In this keynote address, "Domesticating Revolution," Anishanslin looks at the critical role that homespun violence--manifested in the form of material culture--played in crafting Patriot political culture during the American Revolution. The talk brings together military and women’s history, and political and family history through  material culture. "Domesticating Revolution" discusses the parallel politics of homespun violence on the battlefield and the homefront.  Patriot soldiers used homespun objects to memorialize battlefield violence, while Patriot women and children created and used things, such as musket ball necklaces and calico printed quilts with General George Washington on horseback, that also enshrined memories of military conflict and violence in the home.  These things help us to understand how women and children at home, as well as military men,  contributed to a developing American patriotism by collecting and using things that celebrated wartime violence,  using material culture to announce their militant embrace of the revolutionary cause on their bodies and in their homes. 

Anishanslin is a professor who’s equally passionate about spreading historical knowledge inside the classroom and being a public historian. You can find her talking history on podcasts like Ben Franklin’s World and TV shows like the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum. She writes about how the past is relevant to the present for the “Made by History” series at The Washington Post—like the real history of the famous phrase, “a republic, if you can keep it.” She’s often a historical and material culture consultant for exhibitions, like the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s recent redo of its early American galleries, and (most impressive to her children) Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: The Exhibition.

From 2021-23, she’s a Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellow, working to innovate humanities education and bring new stories about the Founding Era to the public in partnership with Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution. Including her new book, Under the King’s Nose: Ex-Pat Patriots in the American Revolution (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, forthcoming). If you haven’t seen it yet, check out her first book—Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2016), available in paperback. Andcoming soon (fall 2023!) you can find her talking about lots of stuff on her new history podcast “Thing4Things.” To meet the rest of the team, hear more about Season 1 “The Stuff of Revolution,” and get notified when it premieres Fall 2023, visit!