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Fashion and Cultural Memory in 20th -21st centuries
SUMMER 2020 SESSION I
MTW 3:30 - 5:40
OFFICE HOURS Thursday 2pm-3pm or by appointment
Fashion is the epitome of our yearning for the new and yet it always repeats itself. What is at stake in these repetitions? This course explores fashion as a means of processing history and time, a vehicle both activating and producing cultural memory. Building on Diana Taylor’s idea of the archive and the repertoire, we will see how the history of fashion is just as much about novelty as it is about a negotiation between the present and the past and the performance of cultural memory. Starting from Coco Chanel’s project of styling the nation and the not-so-new Dior’s New Look we will move to contemporary reflections on the 60s and sartorial obsessions with retro and vintage in the age of Instagram. While the vogue has been deliberately constructed as a quintessentially French phenomenon, we will transit from Paris to New York, Nubia, and Delhi, making a few stops in post-Soviet Moscow and Tbilisi. Rather than a depository of styles, fashion will be approached as an arena for performance and reinvention of nationhood and gender, local memory and practices of international consumption. The class has a Digital Humanities component and will challenge you to present content on the publishing Internet platform Scalar. You will learn to annotate images and videos online, will write weekly blog posts, and will also have a choice of presenting your final paper in the form of a multimedia digital piece.
After completing this course students will:
1. Have developed their ability to present independent and reasoned analysis of primary and secondary sources relevant to the study of fashion and cultural memory, both verbally and in writing, adopting appropriate academic conventions;
2. Be familiar and able to evaluate a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of fashion, as well as situate primary sources in a wider historical and cultural context;
3. Be able to present their work in the digital form and acquire skills of Internet publishing.In the beginning of the course, the students will set up an account with Scalar and familiarize themselves with the platform by submitting weekly blog posts using the platform. Towards the end of the course, they will be given a choice of either producing a traditional final paper on a topic related to the course or a project involving analysis and annotation of multimedia content published on Scalar.
Fashion as Archive and Repertoire
May, 26: Introduction. Young, Agnes Brooks "Fashion has Its Laws" pp. 46-57 Wilson, Elizabeth "Why do People Wear Clothes?"
May 27: Taylor, Diana. The Archive and the Repertoire p. 16-33.
Jenss, Heike. Fashioning Memory. “Introduction: Fashion and Cultural Memory.” pp. 1–14
Set up an account in Scalar
May 29, 5 pm: Introductory Blogpost Due
Week 2. From Imperial Nostalgia to Fashioning the Nation
June 1: Presley, Ann Beth “Fifty Years of Change: Societal Attitudes and Women's Fashions, 1900-1950,” The Historian Vol. 60, No. 2 1998, pp. 307-324
Wilson, Elizabeth. “Fashion & Memory: Unravelling twentieth-century fashion's relationship with memory and perpetual pursuit of the new.” Web.
June 2: See Chanel and Modernism on Google's "We Wear Culture" Project
Garelick Mademoiselle Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History, Chapter 4 “Grand Duke Dmitri”, p.110-134
June 3: Garelick, Chapter 10 “Chanel, fascism, and the Interwar Years” pp. 259-296
Veillon, Dominique. Fashion under the Occupation Preface, vii-ix, "Vichy, Fashion, and Women" p.125-139
June 5, 5pm Blogpost 2 Due: Fashion and Nation (500-700 words)
Week 3. Fashioning Gender and the Nostalgic New Look
June 8: Butler, Judith. “Lacan, Riviere, and the Strategies of Masquerade,” pp.43-48 (until the end of the first passage)
Wilson, Elizabeth. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity Chapter 6, "Gender and Identity," pp. 117-133
June 9: Beauvoir, The Second Sex, "Social Life" pp. 649-660 (until the end of the first passage)
Steele, Valerie “The Corset: Fashion and Eroticism.” Fashion Theory 3.4, 1999. pp. 449-473 (make sure you are logged in through NYU library to access)
June 10: Rabine, Leslie “A Woman’s Two Bodies: Fashion Magazines, Consumerism, and Feminism,” pp. 59-75
Wright, Lee "Objectifying Gender: The Stiletto Heel" pp. 197-207 in Fashion Theory: A Reader
June 12, 5pm Blogpost 3 Due: Fashion and Gender
Week 4. The Second-Hand 60s and the Stakes of the Retro Aesthetics
June 15: Jenss, Fashioning Memory, “Icons of Modernity: Sixties Fashion and Youth Culture”, p.24-37,
Goodlad, Lauren M. E., Rushing, Robert, Kaganovsky, Lilya, Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s, Introduction, pp. 1-17
Madmen, Season 1 Episode 1 “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, Season 2 Episode 5 “The New Girl”
June 16: Silverman, Kaja. “Fragments of a Fashionable Discourse”, 52-139.
Madmen, Season 4, Episode 4, “The Rejected”, Season 5, Episode 1-2 “A Little Kiss”
June 17: Rosenheck, “Swing Skirts and Swinging Singles,” Mad Men, Mad World, pp.161-180
“Vintage Style and Mediated Memories: Sixties DIY,” pp.113-138
The Hipsters (Stiliagi, 2008), by Vareliy Todorovsky (fragments)
June 19, 5pm Blogpost 4 Due: Fashion Industry and Film
Week 5. Local Memory and Global Fashion
June 22: Comme de Garcons Post-soviétiques: Demna Gvasalia and Gosha Rubchinsky
Roberts, Graham “Leader of the Gang: Gosha Rubchinskiy and the Death of Catwalk,” pp. 689-707.
June 23: Rovine, “Nubia in Paris: African Style in French Fashion” pp. 71-105
“Reinventing Local Forms: African Fashion Indigenous Style” pp. 107-155
June 24: Puwar, Nirmal “Multicultural Fashion: Stirrings of Another Sense of Aesthetics and Memory,” pp. 63-87.
Boris, Eileen “Fashion Works,” Feminist Studies Vol. 43, No. 1 (2017), pp. 169-192
June 26, 5pm Blogpost 5 Due: Local/Global in Fashion
Week 6. Retro and Vintage in the Age of Instagram
June 29: Jenss, Fashioning Memory, “Vintage: Fashioning Time,” pp.15-36,July 3: Final Paper (8-10 pages) / Scalar piece due (2,500-3,000 words)
McRobbie, Angela. “Second-Hand Dresses and the Role of the Rag Market.”
Perthuis, de Karen, Findlay, Rosie “How Fashion Travels: The Fashionable Ideal in the Age of Instagram,” Fashion Theory, Vol.23. 2019, pp.219-242.
June 30: Evans, Caroline “Yesterday’s Emblems and Tomorrow’s Commodities: The Return of the Repressed in Fashion Imagery Today,” pp. 93-113 Jenss, Fashioning Memory, “Investing (in) Time: Collecting and Consuming the Past” pp. 89-112, “Untimely Fashion” pp.139-146
July 1: Conclusions and Final Projects presentations