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The Salon Series VI

February 24, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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Exploring the impact of 18th century issues today and beyond.

We are so excited to announce our next Salon Series guest ~ Dr. Danielle Kinsey.

Diamonds and “Exotic” Goods Consumption in Britain, 1750-1830

If we think about a quintessentially British upper-class tea party at the turn of the nineteenth century, we find that it is composed of goods from away: tea, obviously, but also things like china, sugary items, chocolate, spices, silver, mahogany, ivory, silks, cottons, maybe snuff, and jewelry with precious gemstones. Scholars of this period continue to explore how “exotic” goods came to be appropriated into British society and moved from luxury status to everyday items. In this talk, Kinsey will focus on diamonds and show how it wasn’t a simple case of a product associated with “the East” becoming Westernized but a more complicated dynamic where diamonds could be understood to be foreign, exotic, domestic, modern, traditional, scientific, romantic, good and evil all at once. In other words, the process of appropriation didn’t completely strip diamonds, and many other goods from away, of associations with exoticism or knowledge about where they came from and how they came to be in Britain. The worlds of colonialism and global capitalism were very much alive in what could be understood as British consumer culture in this time.


Justine Woods

Danielle Kinsey is an assistant professor in the department of history at Carleton University in Ottawa where she teaches courses on consumption and material culture, British history, global and imperial history, and the history of the body. She is completing a book manuscript for McGill-Queen’s University Press about the diamond trade and the meaning of diamonds in Britain and empire in the long nineteenth century.

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