Bodies on Display colloquium

11724655.jpgA two-day colloquium organized by the McCord Museum of Canadian History in collaboration with the Costume Society of America, Northeastern Region in conjunction with the McCord Museum exhibition Reveal or Conceal. Fashion is inextricably linked to the bodies that wear it. Bodies give shape and meaning to clothing, while dress makes bodies social and fashionable (or unfashionable). How do we address the body in researching and interpreting the history of dress and fashion? How do we address its absence in studying the material culture of clothing? In the light of the growing scholarly interest in addressing the body in many academic disciplines, this colloquium aims to foster a dialogue among those in the academic setting who study the body as it relates to dress and fashion, and dress as an embodied practice, with those who approach it from the museum, material culture, living history, and design perspectives. Themes: Abstracts for papers are sought on the following themes, in historic or contemporary, Western or non-Western perspectives. Research incorporating or intersecting with material culture is encouraged.Uncovering modesty: Issues in the historical and contemporary perceptions of acceptable body covering, regulating dress and modesty, the interplay between modesty and eroticism in dress. Shifting standards: Key changes in constructions of physical comfort in dress, notions of public and private in fashion and the body, and gendering and the dressed body. Fashionable immodesty: The power of the partially dressed body, marketing the body, readdressing theories such as the “shifting erogenous zone”Wearing the body: methods of shaping the body from corsetry to fitness, embellishment and modifications of the exposed body, issues surrounding appropriate public presentation of the body. Putting bodies on display: aspects of museum or living history presentation of dressed bodies, such as the creation of mannequins and supports for bodies, clothing for bodies to be displayed in unusual ways. Practical demonstrations are welcome. Abstracts for papers should not exceed 600 words in length and should be sent via e-mail to with a short biography for use in the program or publicity (about 200 words). A separate page must indicate the authors’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses, and to whom all communications should be directed. Students (Masters and PhD) are encouraged to submit, and should also indicate their degree status and school and program in which they are enrolled. All contributions must be received no later than June 13, 2008. Click here for the contact email.

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