Author; Visiting Fellow, Smith University
Virginia Postrel is an author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture, commerce, and technology. She is a visiting fellow at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University, where she teaches classes combining the humanities and economics.
Writing in Vanity Fair, Sam Tanenhaus described her as "a master D.J. who sequences the latest riffs from the hard sciences, the social sciences, business, and technology, to name only a few sources."
Her latest book The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, was published in November 2020 by Basic Books and is available as an audiobook. The Spanish translation was published by Ediciones Siruela.
It examines the development of technology, industry, and commerce through the history of textiles, from prehistoric times to the near future. Research for the book is supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program for the Public Understanding of Science, Technology, and Economics. She has been a guest scholar at the Centre for Textile Research at the University of Copenhagen.
Postrel's previous books include The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion (2013), The Substance of Style, (2003), and The Future and Its Enemies (1998). She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.
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