Jennifer Hoover
Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Program
Project Title: Assessing Material and Cultural Resources for Wool Production in Himachal Pradesh
Field of Study: Interdisciplinary Studies
Home Institution: University of California, Davis, CA
Host Institution: Sambhavna, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh  
Grant Start Month: August, 2017
Duration of Grant: Nine months

Jennifer Hoover
Brief Bio:

Ms. Jennifer Hoover holds a BA in anthropology and an MS in textiles, both from the University of California, Davis. She has practiced textile handcrafts (knitting, weaving, and hand spinning) for over 10 years. Ms. Hoover is active in her local craft community, occasionally teaching workshops on spinning, weaving, and dyeing with locally sourced plant materials. For her master’s thesis, Ms. Hoover conducted fieldwork at sheep shearing sites in California, training to evaluate wool quality through sensory examination. With Dr. Susan B. Kaiser, Ms. Hoover is contributing a chapter on wool production to the book Mapping Sustainable Fashion, due to be published in 2018. Ms. Hoover’s research interests include craft, place, materiality, sustainability, and embodied knowledge.

For her Fulbright grant, Ms. Hoover is studying wool production practices in Himachal Pradesh, focusing on both the material characteristics of the wool and the social systems of its production. This project was developed in collaboration with a self-help group of weavers, spinners, and knitters in Kullu Valley, and will support the small-scale wool industry in the Kullu and Kangra regions. Although the region is home to both shepherds and weavers, few resources exist for processing wool into yarn. Ms. Hoover hopes her research will help Himachali textile artisans more easily access high-quality materials within local socioeconomic networks.