Hello and welcome to the website of Zara Anishanslin!

I'm a scholar who specializes in telling stories about the past through things—“the historian with a thing for things.”

I’ve got my dream job as a professor, but I’m also passionate about spreading historical knowledge to the wider public. I've worked in museums and historic preservation, and you can sometimes find me talking history on a podcast like Ben Franklin’s World or a TV show like the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum.

I love all things eighteenth century, Lapsang Souchong tea, the city of London (especially Spitalfields), the rocky beaches of Bainbridge Island, the Oxford comma, a well-chosen statement scarf, and my two children. I'm also slightly addicted to good period dramas and sci fi (PoldarkOutlander, and Dr. Who rank high), and—when writer’s block strikes—I’ve been know to nibble on a Cool Ranch Dorito or two.

At the moment, I’m excited that my first book—Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2016) is out in paperback. And recently I've loved the chance I've gotten to combine my love for public history with my own material culture research, by consulting on exhibitions (including upcoming shows at The Library of Congress and a show opening alongside a certain musical called Hamilton! The Exhibition). 

Thanks for stopping by, and please stay in touch.

Zara Anishanslin, PhD



Banner image: adapted from Anna Maria Garthwaite, watercolor on paper, damask silk design for Simon Julins, 1743, T. 391–197, p. 55. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.