Fine Arts, Design & Creative Technology

CHUM 333 – About Clothes: Styles, Histories, Activism, Poetics

In this course you will learn about some of the looks, discourses, forms of work, sensory meanings, and embodied histories relevant to/circulating around the wearing and study of clothing, in our time-place and at selected points over the past several hundred years. The syllabus includes works of literature, scholarship, visual art, performance, journalism, and activism. Among the questions we will ask: What does it mean to read clothes? How may we understand the transatlantic and global circuits that have informed various fashion systems, including ideas about who may wear what kinds of clothes? How and why have the labor, products, pleasures, and pains of this (multi-billion-dollar) business been understood as trivial? Throughout the semester, you will conduct your own experiments at the intersections of language, identities, and the materiality of clothing.

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