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About Clothes: Styles, Histories, Activisms, Poetics

CHUM 333
Spring 2021
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ENGL 332, FGSS 333, THEA 333
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

This course is a chance to think together about living in, and in relation with, clothes. We will examine some of the histories, meanings, and monies that circulate around sartorial style, focusing on several interconnected sites around the world, from the eighteenth century to the present, and drawing on literature, performance, visual arts, historical and scientific scholarship, journalism, and activism. As we investigate forms of work, representation, and resistance that have produced some of the clothes of this time and of the past, we will study the transatlantic and global circuits (among Europe, Africa, Asia, and the U.S.) that have informed various fashion systems. We will consider how particular textiles and textures, cuts of cloth, and racialized and gendered ideas of style emerged in conjunction with enslaved and other forms of labor. We will look at some examples of how the work, products, and pleasures of this multi-billion-dollar business have been considered trivial and fleeting. We will learn about various efforts to archive and preserve clothes. Thinking always about connections between style and sexuality, we will look also at ritual, political, and medical uses of clothing. Throughout, you will conduct your own experiments at the intersections among language, identities, and the materiality of clothes. This seminar will welcome guest speakers who are experts on aspects of African, European, British, African-American, and Middle Eastern clothing and fashion. We will also be in conversation with the work of scholars and artists visiting the Center for the Humanities for the semester's theme of Ephemerality.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(ENGL)(ENGL-Creative W)(FGSS)
Past Enrollment Probability: Less than 50%

Last Updated on JUN-23-2024
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