Judith Ridner is a historian of early America with interests in the American frontier, ethnicity and immigration, oral and public history. Her research to date has focused on the eighteenth-century Pennsylvania and the Scots-Irish, and has broadened over time to include oral history, public and digital history, and especially material culture.
Ridner is currently working on two book projects. In Clothing the Babel: The Material Culture of Ethnic Identity in Early America, she is analyzing how clothing and other items of personal adornment that various European immigrants wore influenced how eighteenth-century Americans perceived and reacted to them. Her other project, The Dirty History of Soap, traces the material history of this ordinary substance, from the ancient world to the present.