Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.


Copyright 2012 by the author(s).


The graduate course entitled Ethnic, Dress, and Textiles offered in Fall 2011 at the University of Rhode Island was organized around the Textile Society of America's 2012 Symposium theme: Textiles and Politics. One of the goals of the course was to become active participants in our field by learning how to become independent researchers and developing the skills to present this information to a wider audience. Following this concept and the goal of the class, I centered my research on the political significance of West African appliquÈ wall hangings originating in the Kingdom of Dahomey. Politics surrounding West African appliquÈs can be found throughout its timeline starting with its origins and ending with its tourist trade. The West African tourist trade produces these textiles in a wider social circle generating questions of what is "authentic" and who owns the rights to the traditional designs of a Dahomey appliquÈ cloth. The research presented in this paper closely examines the political motive that encompasses the Dahomey appliquÈ tourist trade and its effects.