HIST 395
Fashioning Bodies: Dress, Consumption, and Gender from the Renaissance to the Present
Last Offered Spring 2009
Division II
Cross-listed WGST 395 / HIST 395
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This course explores costume and fashion as vehicles for the (re)creation and expression of gender, class, and sexual identities in Europe and the United States. We will begin by looking at the relationship between fashion and the political and economic power of the courts of early modern Europe. Revolutionary ideologies will be linked to sartorial politics, consumption of clothing to colonization, and changes in the style of clothing to shifting social norms. As our focus turns to the fashion industry in the twentieth century, when mass-produced clothing increased the possibility for reflexivity and imaginative play in dress, we will relate representations of the dressed body to the formation of diverse cultural communities, beauty ideals, and status hierarchies, examining both the normative and subversive potential of fashion. The course considers work in the fields of art history, cultural history, sociology and anthropology, feminist theory, and fashion journalism to ask questions such as: What are the origins of consumer societies? When, why, and how were fashion and consumption feminized? Is clothing a language? What cultural, political and social meanings do certain forms of dress generate? What is the relationship between prevalent understandings of the body and fashion? How is clothing used to stigmatize or differentiate individuals and communities? Topics include: the origins of uniforms and sportswear, eroticism and androgyny in fashion, the cultural politics of ethnic clothing, and the relationship between the fashion industry and cinema.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: none
Expected: 8-14
Class#: 3588
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, an oral presentation, two short critical essays based on class readings, and a final research paper
Prerequisites: none
Unit Notes: meets Group C or Group F, and Group G requirements in History major only if registration is under HIST
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGST 395 Division II HIST 395 Division II
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
HIST Group G Electives - Global History

Class Grid

Updated 11:48 am

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