"The Remainder of Our Effects We Must Leave Behind": American Loyalists and the Meaning of Things, 1765-1800


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Department of History of American Civilization


Over 70,000 loyalists left Great Britain's thirteen rebellious colonies during the Revolutionary War, often with nothing more than they could carry with them on small and tightly packed ships. This moment of political upheaval and resulting geographic displacement thus offers an unparalleled opportunity to examine the meaning of things—the attitudes colonists had toward their possessions, the values they invested in them, and the evolution of meanings as items were possessed, then left behind, and in some cases, possessed again. I employ historical, anthropological, and art historical methodologies to explore this nexus of meanings in an attempt to bring issues of materiality, possession, and loss to the forefront of material culture studies.