Fashion & Violence
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Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLFS 3147
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Fashion Design History, Theory & Criticism
- Fashion Studies
- Cultural Studies
The relationship between fashion and violence has been conceived in many different ways, from early theories of dress as physical protection and Foucault’s technologies of the body to 2011’s global SlutWalk protests, which sought to challenge the tenacious link between these terms in public opinion. The entanglement of fashion and violence is worthy of critical study, as both concepts are part of extensive discourses touching on ideas of gender, power relations, mass media, and the body. This class seeks to uncover and analyze points of intersections between violence and fashion, using a Fashion Studies approach that finds evidence in images, objects, spaces, and practices and applies theories from disciplines including sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and visual and material culture studies. Our readings will cast a wide net, from key fashion studies figures such as Rebecca Arnold, Caroline Evans and Joanne Entwistle, to media studies writing from Susan Bordo and Sherie Inness, in order to build a solid theoretical foundation for students’ analysis of cultural texts both in class and through independent research. The fashion media will be the primary source of inquiry, as it consistently offers representations of fashionable violence and/or violent fashion, to much controversy. We will examine these images, from photographers such as Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, as well as designers (McQueen, Mugler) popular films (American Psycho, Mad Max) and media figures including Rihanna, for the cultural assumptions and expectations they demonstrate. Furthermore, we will consider designed objects, including garments, for their materialization of these concepts and for how they uphold or contest messages from within the broader discourse.
Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.
Open to Undergraduate students.