Montag, 16. Juni 2014
TERMINSACHE NR. 67: Wear your nation - wear your utopia?! Clothing, fashion and beauty in historical perspective (CFP)
Tagung: Wear your nation - wear your utopia?! Clothing, fashion and beauty in historical perspective
Veranstalter: Dr. Anna Novikov (Deutsches Historisches Institut, Warsaw), Svenja Bethke (Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg), Nathalie Keigel M.A. (University of Hamburg)
Datum, Ort: 12.01.2015-14.01.2015, Warsaw, German Historical Institute Warsaw, Al. Ujazdowskie 39, 00-540 Warsaw
Concepts of dressing, fashion and beauty are particularly suitable as categories of analysis for research questions inspired by historical and cultural sciences. Crucial key concepts for These newer thematic research perspectives and related methodological approaches were provided especially by studies in fashion theory, which since the 1990’s have been influenced by the cultural studies as well as by art history, media and design studies (Craik 1994; Breward 1995; 1998; 1999; 2004; Steele 1988; 1997 et al.). As far back as “The Fashion System” (Barthes 1967), the notion of fashion in cultural sciences is increasingly classified as a “phenomenon of perception” (Lehnert 2012). This is accompanied by processes of cultural attribution, which largely depend on the particular actors in question and are subject to change over time. An additional field of research encompasses several social and economic practices related with fashion, e.g., the drafting of the design, advertising, distribution and consumption. Over the past years these questions have been adopted by historians.
The connection of national or political self-understanding and physical appearance grew in importance by the time of the French Revolution. In certain historical and social constellations it constantly gained significance. This allows, inter alia, an explanation of the relatively high number of historical studies over the recent years, which consider the subject of fashion in the context of totalitarian and/or socialist systems.
Since everyone needs to dress, one can ask to which extent individuals and groups define themselves with regards to clothing, fashion and beauty ideals, or whether and how they disassociated themselves from these. In short, whether intended by the respective actors or not, (self-)identifications, categorizations, self-understandings and feelings of belonging can be clarified in this framework. Did people over the course of history also try to express national, religious or political belonging through their clothes? In these respects, manifestations of power relations can come into focus, whether in terms of the relations of (state) authorities and individuals or with regards to social stratification, individual and collective, generational differences or gender roles.
A historical perspective and a focus on various geographical areas and communities permit to emphasize the constructed and dynamic nature of concepts of fashion and beauty. When was clothing classified as "fashion"; was this development linked to the emergence of a garment industry? When and how did fashion potentially act as a concept in strategies of modernization? What role did divide between rural and urban areas play?
In which contexts and social models did fashion have a negative connotation? Fashion was incompatible, for instance, with images of physical labour, especially in regions where, according to socialist utopias, new images of man, including their appearances, had to be formed. Communist parties sometimes viewed an emerging fashion culture critically. Also in Palestine, Zionists brought to the Kibbuzim a so called "Anti-Fashion", which was integrated into their ideals.
The communication of such ideals is directly linked to the question of visual representation and performance. What role did drawings and the emergence of photography play? What role did the rise of an entertainment industry, including magazines, play with regards to the distribution of clothes, fashion and beauty ideals? What transnational reference frameworks played a role in terms of aesthetic concepts in the spheres of fashion and clothing (for instance, "Paris fashion")? To what extent can processes of transfer and modification be observed, for instance in socialist countries, where Western models were adapted to one’s own needs?
In a three-day-workshop, with plenty of room for discussion, we would like to explore how ideals of clothing, fashion and beauty as categories of analysis allow for a new access to historical processes of negotiation in the context of nation-building processes and the implementation of social projects and utopias.
We aim for a broad geographical coverage with regard to the contributions. The chronological focus should be on the modern period. Both the actors, who determined and shaped the processes of negotiations on the question of the "fashionable", as well as the analysis of Areas of tension in economic, medial, political and social terms, that were behind the concrete expressions, should be brought into focus. The object of research should in principle be reflected and discussed as a historical category of analysis. Among other things, methodological and theoretical approaches (for instance of visual culture studies, of material culture, performativity, body history, etc.), whose applicability should be examined by using historical test case studies, are of interest.
The workshop will be held in English.
The committee invites researchers to submit abstracts for short presentations (in English), which are connected to the aforementioned topics. The inclusion of historical sources is considered a requirement.
Please send a 250 words abstract until 1 August 2014 per email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants will be informed by 15 August 2014 about the results.
Costs for accommodation over the course of the workshop and travel expenses (to some extent) of invited speakers will be covered by the organizers.
Funded by the Deutsches Historisches Institut (DHI) Warsaw and the Institute for the History of German Jews (IGdJ), Hamburg
German Historical Institute, Al. Ujazdowskie 39, 00-540 Warsaw
+48 22 525 8319
+48 22 525 8342