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FRD Roundtable: Self-fashioning, empire, and racialization in the Americas

Join us as we discuss the shared role of fashion and portraiture in the construction of race and empire in the colonial Americas.

In this roundtable, Dr. Philippe Halbert and Dr. Janine Yorimoto Boldt converse with FRD’s Senior Researcher, Dr. Laura Beltran-Rubio, to explore how colonial Americans navigated and constructed their identities through fashion and painting.

Each of the speakers will introduce their research into race, enslavement, art, and empire through a series of portraits that we hope will spark some great discussion. The second half of the session will be dedicated to answering audience’s questions and we encourage you to leave us yours in advance when you register.

With this conversation we bring together French, English, and Spanish colonial perspectives to reveal the importance that fashion—and self-fashioning—played in the construction and endurance of race throughout the colonial Americas.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

11:00am – 12:00pm EST (virtual)


Philippe Halbert is the Richard Koopman Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. At present, he is the curatorial lead for a reinstallation of the early American art collection and a reinterpretation of the circa 1746 Wetmore Parlor. A graduate of the College of William and Mary and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, he received his doctorate in the history of art from Yale University. His research privileges the art and material culture of the Americas in relation to larger themes of creolization, self-fashioning, and identity. A co-founder of Materializing Race in #VastEarlyAmerica, he has authored essays on a variety of topics published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Janine Yorimoto Boldt is the Collection Reinstallation Project Associate at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where she is involved in planning the comprehensive reinstallation of the permanent collection galleries. Previously, she was the Associate Curator of American Art at the Chazen and a Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society. She holds a PhD in American Studies from William & Mary and specializes in early American visual culture. Recent curatorial projects include re:mancipation, Resource & Ruin: Wisconsin’s Enduring Landscape, and Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist. Her scholarship on colonial art and portraiture has been published by Winterthur Portfolio, American Art, Panorama, and the DAR Museum. She is the researcher behind Colonial Virginia Portraits, a digital project produced in collaboration with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture.
Dr. Laura Beltrán-Rubio is a curator, researcher, and educator specialized in Latin American and Indigenous textile and fashion arts. Her mission is to diversify global fashion by creating bridges between the fashion industry and academia. Outside the FRD, she is also Lecturer in Design Cultures at De Montfort University (UK).

The Construct of Race »

During the month of March, FRD will present articles, resources and programming that will deepen our understanding of how divisive the construct of race has been historically and remains to this day. Race can also be argued (most notably by writer Isabel Wilkerson) as a kind of caste system. Constructive conversations will be facilitated through month-long virtual events, and a Learning Guide on this topic will be offered to help us learn and un-learn the harmful impact of race within the fashion system.

Image: Unidentified artist, Folding Screen with Indian Wedding, Mitote, and Flying Pole (Biombo con desposorio indígena, mitote y palo volador), Mexico, circa 1660-1690. Oil on canvas, Overall (4 panels): 66 × 120 in. (167.6 × 304.8 cm). Purchased with funds provided by the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art Deaccession Fund (M.2005.54a-d). Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


28 Mar 2024
Ended already


11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 28 Mar 2024
  • Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


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