HIST 395 Fall 2012 Fashioning Bodies: Dress, Consumption, and Gender from the Renaissance to the Present

Cross Listed as WGSS395
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.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
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
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Prerequisites: none; open to first-year students with instructor's permission
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other 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
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 8-14
Class Number: 1454
HIST395-01(F) LEC Fashioning Bodies:Renasce-Pres Division 2: Social Studies Anna Fishzon
TR 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Schapiro Hall 141 1454
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