Using textiles and clothing as a lens through which to explore the world, I am interested in the entire life of objects: what they are made of, who made them and how, how they were used, and what they meant to makers, owners, observers, and collectors. I am a cultural historian specializing in early modern textiles and clothing and my training spans art history, history of science, literature and material culture studies, so I aim to approach objects from interdisciplinary perspectives. As textiles contain so much information that is not recorded in text or image, and so often only survive in fragmentary conditions, I often collaborate with other researchers, scientists, makers, and designers to investigate and reconstruct objects using hands-on, scientific, and digital methods.
My current research spans several themes: weatherproof clothing, imitation textiles, and the development of hands-on and experimental reconstruction methods. My ongoing publication projects include the results of my experiments following 16th-century dye recipes and the full-size reconstruction of a renaissance doublet. I am also working on a monograph about early modern London’s emergence as a fashion capital and an edited volume about early modern maker spaces.
Before joining the School of Human Ecology, I was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at UCL (London) where I researched the connection between weather, the environment, and clothing. I have also held postdoctoral research positions on two major projects: Making and Knowing (Columbia University, New York) and Refashioning the Renaissance (Aalto University, Finland).
Pitman, S. (2022). Dolled up: The material dissemination of dress in early modern Europe. In Dyer, S., Halbert, J., & Littlewood, S. (Eds.), Disseminating Dress: Britain’s Fashion Networks (pp. 21-48). London: Bloomsbury. https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/disseminating-dress-9781350181021/
Pitman, S. (2022). Visual and Literary Representations. In Reinke-Williams, T. (Ed.), A Cultural History of Shopping in the Early Modern Age. Bloomsbury. https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/cultural-history-of-shopping-9781350027060/
Making and Knowing Project, Smith, P. H., Rosenkranz, N., Uchacz, T. H., Taape, T., Godbarge, C., Pitman, S., Boulboullé, J., Klein, J., Bilak, D., Smith, M., & Catapano, T. (Eds.). (2022). Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France: A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640. New York: Making and Knowing Project. http://edition640.makingandknowing.org
- PhD, History, University of Cambridge
- MA, Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, Bard Graduate Center
- BA, History and English, University of Oxford
Office: 1235D Nancy Nicholas Hall