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Nicole Belolan

Nicole Belolan

Education
The Pennsylvania State University, B. A., American Studies, 2007; University of Delaware/Winterthur Museum, M.A., American Material Culture, 2009.

Research Interests
Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American cultural and social history, material culture, history of the body, everyday life, gender, labor, print culture, and public history.

Advisor
Katherine C. Grier

Dissertation Title
“Navigating the World: The Material Culture of Physical Mobility Impairment in the Early American North, 1700-1861"

Dissertation Summary
When an early American elite fell and broke a hip at home, necessitating moving his bed to the parlor, or when a laborer broke his leg, resulting in the use of crutches, what were the everyday consequences of those disabilities, and what did those disabilities mean? Using material culture as interpretive touchstones for disability in the early American North from about 1700-1861, my research highlights the critical role that objects (including furniture, conveyances, clothing, accessories, prosthetics, and disabled bodies themselves) played at home, on the street, and include institutions as both tools and signs. My work probes when disability mattered, and it explores the disabled body's relationship to the material world. Managing and living with what we call "physical mobility disabilities" or "impairments" shaped and continues to shape everyday life and how Americans have thought about bodily appearance, idenity, longevity, and citizenship, historically and today.