Carina Johnson

“Matters of Appearance” examines the early modern European use of cultural markers to deduce collective identity in a natio (nation), prior to the concept of biological race. These heritable markers could be longstanding group attributes such as language, costume, and blood or formerly individual markers such as physiognomy and complexion. This project employs archival, print, and visual evidence to explore the praxis of embodied group identity during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  At the HAB, my research focuses on interrogating the significance of complexion or skin color in hand-colored images located in print and manuscript costume books, ethnographies, travelogues, and broadsheets.