Maureen Daly Goggin, a professor at Arizona State University, was awarded a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to teach and research historical needlework practices in Austria and the Czech Republic. Goggin will spend next spring as a visiting professor in cultural studies at Karl Franzens University of Graz, Austria, where she will study the collection of samplers in the town’s folklore museum.
Goggin has published numerous works looking at how samplers are expressions of alternative literacies. “The phrases and verses served as a pedagogical tool meant to shape the young stitcher’s virtue as she shaped her stitches,” she explains in a news release from ASU. Since needlework has historically been undertaken by women, it has functioned – sometimes defiantly – as a gendered mode of communication and activism, Goggin says.
Goggin intends to catalog and digitize records and images of the Austrian samplers so they are available to other scholars, fiber artists and students. “Studying everyday objects made by ordinary people offers a nuanced history of people, places and things that are often overlooked or ignored,” Goggin says. “This project will offer a tantalizing look at some of the women who plied their needle in the 19th and early 20th centuries in Graz.”