Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Steiner, Christopher J. “Discussion of ‘Textile Transformations and Cultural Continuities in West Africa.’” Contact, Crossover, Continuity: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 22–24, 1994 (Los Angeles, CA: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1995), pp. 63–66.


Copyright © 1994 Christopher B. Steiner


I have divided my discussion of these papers into two parts. First, I would like briefly to address each of the papers individually—highlighting what I find to be some of the most important issues raised by each. And second, I would like to put forth two dichotomies—(1) regarding the relationship between the sacred and the profane, and (2) on the relationship between aesthetic value and commercial value—both of which strike me as critical organizing principles that join these four papers [those of Judith Byfield, Kathleen Bickford, Lisa Aronson, and Elisha Renne and Joanne Eicher in this proceedings] into a coherent statement on the relationship of African textiles to capitalist transformations in the modern world system.