The textiles industry.

Fabricating the Body: Textiles and Human Health in Historical Perspective

6–7 April 2011

Pasold Research Fund Conference.

Supported by the Wellcome Trust, at the Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter

This conference brought together historians of textiles and clothing, and of health, with scholars of social, medical, cultural, and economic history to examine the rich connections between textiles, human health and welfare, environmental issues, and self expression (including ‘sunlight seekers’ and ‘body culture’ movements of the past 150 years).

The conference addressed four main themes:

  • Early modern and modern textiles manufacturing and the association of benign and malign influences in the growth of industry and the impact on the labour force, land and water use.
  • The modern environmental costs of textiles production, from soil utilisation (and erosion) to the chemical manufacture of man-made fibres and the consequences of toxic minerals and chemicals for both workers and the wider community.
  • The animal world and the costs of textile and skin production: hunting, farming, and human-animal health concerns. The rise of a new politics of health around animal utilisation.
  • The textile sector in relation to future environmental degradation, bio-health and sustainability.

Conference materials

Conference programme

Conference poster