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Student with mannequins

Blaire Gagnon

Assistant Professor
Ph.D. University of Connecticut, 2009

Quinn Hall, Room 310
(401) 874-5858

Blaire joined the faculty in 2009 after finishing her dissertation on powwow markets. Blaire enjoys historic and ethnographic research and her areas of interest include: the relationship between people and objects, the interface between theory and practice, material culture, processes of exchange and their influence on commodity and identity production, inter-cultural markets, methodological practices in a globalizing world, issues of authenticity and currently, the geographic/cultural areas of are Native North America and South America.

Her path to our department began when she took up quilting over 20 years ago. In 1993, she opened a quilt store called BG Calico located in Salem, CT where she offered an extensive schedule of classes, sold fabric and related notions, and provided custom quilting services. After closing her store in 1998 and moving to Rhode Island, Blaire entered the TMD Masters program in 1999 where her interest in the cultural aspects of textiles led to a a thesis on Egyptian appliques.  Coupled with her experience as a TA, this suggested a new career path that took her first to UConn to get a Ph.D., and now brings her back to URI

Blaire will teach in the general area of the cultural aspects of dress, principally TMD 224, TMD 500 and TMD 524. 


  • Gagnon, Blaire. 2003. Egyptian Appliqués. Uncoverings 2003: 131-162.

Papers and Presentations:

  • 2009 "Thinking Outside the Rez: Multi-Sited Ethnography and Indigenous Entrepreneurialism" paper abstract accepted for the 108th American Anthropological Association's Meeting The End/s of Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA. December 2-6.
  • 2008 "Becoming "Customary": Historicizing the Conjuncture of Dance and Art Markets Found in Contemporary Powwows" presented as part of the organized session: Intra-Disciplinary Approaches in Anthropology Part II: Diverse Interests, Diverse Approaches, Common Goals at the Northeastern Anthropological Association's 48th Meeting Anthropology Comes Home: The Enduring Promise of a Holistic Discipline, University of Massachusetts Amherst. March 7-9.
  • 2007 "Differentiating Native Space: Objects, Exchange and The Engendering Of Powwow Markets" presented at the 106th American Anthropological Association's Meeting Difference, (In)equality, and Justice, Washington, DC Nov.28-Dec 2.
  • 2007 “Territorializing Indigeneity at Powwow Markets” presented at the American Ethnological Society and Canadian Anthropology Society’s joint conference Indigeneities and Cosmopolitanisms, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. May 8-12.
  • 2006 “Quilting: Collecting and Care.” Invited talk presented in conjunction with the exhibition To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. Mashantucket, CT. April 15.
  • 2004 “Law, Identity and Textile Marketing at Powwows: A Preliminary Report” and “Egyptian Tourist Appliqués: Context and Authenticity” presented at the Textile Society of America’s 9th Biennial Symposium, Oakland, CA. October 6-9.
  • 2004 “Federal Indian Policy and the Construction of Identity in Native American Arts and Crafts Vending” presented at the National Association of Native American Studies National Conference, Houston, TX. February 16-21.
  • 2003 "Egyptian Appliqués" presented at the 24th Annual Seminar of the American Quilt Study Group, Dallas, TX. October 10-12.

  • 2000 “Analysis of a Seminole Male Doll: Tourist Art as a Window of Seminole Cultural Identity” presented at the joint Costume Society of America, Region I and Textile Society of America Spring Symposium, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Mashantucket, CT. April 15.