CFP: International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics

The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics (MCP) seeks papers for a themed issue on Indigenous Film and Media. Papers should address any aspect of Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nations, Maori, Sami, etc. film, media, and popular cultures.

MCP is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and popular cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those which run across cultures, nations, and nation-states. Consequently, this themed volume welcomes comparative research across media and/or Indigenous ethnicities and cultures. In particular, the volume highly encourages comparative papers between Indigenous and, say, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and African film, media, and popular cultures.

Topics might address, but are not in any way limited to the following:
Film
Television
New Media
Video Games, Blogging, YouTube
Advertising
Fashion
Sports
Popular Literature
Comic books, Graphic novels, and Cartoons
Radio shows
Folklore
Museums
Theater, Festivals, Spectacles, and Ceremonies
Music
Visual art

MCP invites interested contributors to submt (4,000-8,000 word) essays, short commentaries (2,500-3,000), and book reviews (1,000-2,500) on Indigenous film, new media, social media, and popular cultural politics. Contributors should also include brief biographical notes of approximately 200 words.

Deadline for submissions: May 30, 2014

Submissions should be sent to adahn@mnstate.edu.

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CFP: Midwest Popular Culture Assn/Midwest American Culture Assn

The Midwest Popular Culture Association and Midwest American Culture Association will be hosting their annual conference October 3-5, 2014 in Indianapolis, IN.

Topics can include, but are not limited to, fashion as it is represented in literature, film, television, or music; fashion as it pertains to current popular culture or popular culture of any time period of the past; the fashions of celebrities; or sociological implications of fashion in our culture.

Abstracts must be 250 words and address any aspect of fashion to the “Fashion” area of the submissions website. Please include your name, affiliation, and e-mail address with the 250 word abstract. Also, please indicate in your submission whether your presentation will require an LCD Projector.

Additionally, there are graduate student travel grants available! More information may be found here.

Deadline for submissions: April 30, 2014

Please upload all proposals here.

Any questions may be forwarded to Kelli Purcell O’Brien at kobrien1@memphis.edu.

 

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CFP: Reimagining, Reframing, and Reflecting American Studies in the 21st Century

American Studies Association of Texas: Reimagining, Reframing, and Reflecting American Studies in the 21st Century

November 13-15, 2014

Sam Houston State University

This Call for Papers invites submissions that examine the controversies of the field, both resolved and ongoing, through the varied lenses of scholars across disciplines.  We ask the broad question: as society becomes more global, in what ways do scholars, artists, and musicians reimagine, reframe, or reflect what it is to be American?

Possible questions to consider:

  • How has American Identity shaped or been shaped by concepts of American Individualism?
  • How has the conflicted political past/present reshaped American Identity?
  • How has our own art and music reflected the American Ideal?  Are there such things as uniquely American food, music, art, culture?
  • Has the embracing of multicultural elements in society reflected or deflected our understanding of what it is to be American?
  • How is multiculturalism reflected in current American culture?

Papers are invited from a variety of disciplines which reflect the conference theme, including:

  • Advertising
  • Art (visual and performing)
  • Commerce
  • Décor/Design/Fashion
  • Film
  • Gender (in America)
  • History   (General, Cultural, Economic, Social)
  • Libraries/Museums/Parks
  • Sports
  • Zeitgeist

Abstract deadline: July 1, 2014

Abstract length: 500 words

Please submit abstracts to: asat@shsu.edu.

For more information, please contact Barbara Miles at asat@shsu.edu.

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CFP: DECADENCE: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

DECADENCE: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

August 15-17, 2014

Dalhousie University

If it is a cliché to speak of one’s own age as decadent, so be it. These are decadent times. Justin Bieber’s car collection and Viktor Yanukovych’s presidential palace fit comfortably in a world where the 85 richest people have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest half of the planet’s population, according to a recent Oxfam study. Such narrowly defined good times cannot roll. This disparity between extreme wealth and poverty expresses the paradox inherent in the term “decadence.”

Although literary critics most commonly associate decadence with nineteenth-century and fin-de-siècle authors such as Baudelaire, the French Symbolists, and Oscar Wilde, this interdisciplinary conference aims to encourage exploration of the ways in which this term can be effectively applied to a variety of historical and contemporary subjects, periods, or politics. It seems clear that the various manifestations of decadence could never—and cannot now—be articulated, illustrated, or even imagined independently of a particular complex of cultural, moral, or socio-political conditions.  But how does decadence figure into other disciplines? What does decadence look like in the twenty-first century? Are exquisite excesses inevitable, or even necessary?

The Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students in English (DAGSE) invites submissions for paper presentations for “Decadence: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference.” We welcome proposals from students at all levels and in all areas of graduate study. This three-day conference will be held August 15-17, 2014 at Dalhousie University, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will investigate the symptoms and effects of decadence as a literary, artistic, historical, and socio-cultural phenomenon.

We invite proposals for papers (15-20 minutes) on themes and subjects including, but not limited to:

  • Neoliberalism: patterns of production and consumption
  • Decadence and the Ivory Tower
  • Sexuality and gender; hypersexuality and erotomania
  • Aestheticism, Symbolism, and fin-de-siècle literature
  • Decadence abroad: the French Decadents, the “Lost Generation,” et al.
  • The Dandy, the flâneur, the bon viveur: decadence and self-fashioning
  • Aristocratic and political excesses
  • Physical, aesthetic, or intellectual pleasures
  • Health and Fitness, HGH, plastic surgery, and biohacking

Deadline for abstracts: April 25, 2014

Abstract length: 250-words

Please send abstracts to: dagse.conference@gmail.com

Full posting and submission requirements at the conference website.

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‘Isms in Fashion’: A Panel Discussion at London College of Fashion

 

zoesterling-BetterLivesSalesForce

Last night I was able to attend the last of a series of talks curated by Dr Carolyn Mair, MA course leader at London College of Fashion (LCF), and entitled ‘Looking Ahead…isms in Fashion’.  Previous talks in the series have covered topics such as ageism, racism and ableism, underlining LCF’s initative Better Lives, which aims to develop our understanding of sustainaiblity within the business of fashion.   This final presentation was a panel discussion between a range of diverse speakers, all asked to reflect upon what the Chair, Dr Phil Sams, suggested were ‘tools’ at our disposal in effecting positive change upon a range of long-held stereotypes within the fashion industry.

James Partridge, founder and CEO of UK charity Changing Faces

James Partridge, founder and CEO of UK charity Changing Faces

The discussion was structured around brief presentations by all the speakers and the order of service was well considered.  It began with two very positive, eloquent and engaging introductions by James Partridge, the founder and Chief Executive of Changing Faces, the distinguished UK charity supporting people with disfigurements, and Caryn Franklin MBE, fashion broadcaster and co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, an independent organization focused on challenging stereotypes of body ideals within the fashion industry.

All Walks on the Catwalks 2013 campaign to diversify media representation of body shapes

All Walks Beyond the Catwalks 2013 campaign to diversify media representation of body shapes

Both were able to raise questions about fashion, well-being and diversity that struck a personal chord with the audience.  James engaged us by revealing just how many people know someone with a disfigurement while noting how research suggests we still psychologically associate negative characteristics with people based upon their physical appearance.  Caryn suggested we consider what is meant by ‘success’ not just within the fashion industry but when we get dressed every morning.  Caryn asked us whether what we chose to wear was an experience of anxiety and conformity or affirmation and individualisation.  This personal approach to the subject of exclusion, identity and fashion was certainly inspiring.  While Caryn talked of the ‘extraordinary’ as a profitable antidote to the emphasis on normalization within the business of fashion, James highlighted a recent media campaign by Illamasqua, a cosmetics company, whose slogan ‘beauty is imperfection’ helped to recognize facial diversity within society.

Illamasqua 2013 'Imperfection' campaign featuring a model with a facial birthmark

Illamasqua 2013 ‘Imperfection’ campaign featuring a model with a facial birthmark

However, for me, the highlight of the panel discussion was the elucidating contributions by the last two speakers.  Firstly, Dr Chris Pawson, a community psychologist and Principal Lecturer in Clinical & Community Psychology at the Institute for Research in Child Development, reminded us of how external circumstances, such as socio-economic systems, can negatively impact upon our mental well-being. As he put it, some people definitely have a rougher time of it than others.  To only suggest a range of therapeutic methods that focus on self-improvement fails to address wider communal issues.  Chris drew our attention to the way in which stereotypes are the products of socialization, not just cognitive hardwiring as referred to by other panel and audience members.  Chris also voiced the oppression felt by young people when faced with pressure to conform to fashion trends or particular ways of dressing in order to be fully accepted into society, however, he was equally optimistic about fashion’s contribution to enhanced self-esteem.

M&S 2013 clothing campaign featuring Helen Mirren (actress), Tracey Emin (artist) and Katie Piper (philanthropist)

M&S 2013 clothing campaign featuring Helen Mirren (actress), Tracey Emin (artist) and Katie Piper (philanthropist)

Chris was followed by Dr Carolyn Mair, the primary instigator behind these talks, who pointed out that fashion was still a very narrow business in terms of social representation, reflected in the fact that a third of Britain’s population are over the age of fifty yet barely seen in fashion representation. However, the fact that the clothes worn by Helen Mirren and Tracey Emin in the recent Marks & Spencer (M&S) campaign were the first to sell out clearly highlight the profits of appealing to a more diverse fashion consumer.

Both Chris and Carolyn brought a critical eye to a discussion that covered explicit themes such as the normalization of dress, identity and diversity, yet, arguably, more implicit themes of exclusion, anxiety and conformity were less considered.  Here, it might have been interesting to include Daniel Miller, material anthropologist at UCL, or Rebecca Arnold, fashion historian at the Courtauld Institute of Art, who have both written about the various ways in which fashion and dress manifests anxieties around a range of issues, including perceived body ideals.

Instead, the final contribution to the discussion was given by Zowie Broach, co-creator of Boudicca, a London based design house, whose practitioner stance would offer insight into how fashion design might help to improve our lives.   Unfortunately, her presentation with its focus on a recent art piece rather than the inherent structural challenges of working in fashion failed to engage me despite her being considerably moved by what the other speakers had to say.  Zowie observed that the issues raised all made her feel quite ‘sad’.  Yet it seems to me that if the fashion industry and the public are to move forward in terms of broadening our perception of what is ‘normal’, perhaps it is better to transform this sympathy, which rarely resolves and more often condones ‘isms’, into an empathy so we can start to imagine ourselves in the body/dress of another in an effort to see the world from their perspective.

Boudicca’s The Liquid Game, 2014 ( audio-visual installation)

The final audience discussion was disappointing, with very little time allowed to hear a range of questions, and was not helped by the panel Chair, who drew upon previously featured speakers amongst the audience for contributions rather than pursue lesser well-known faces amongst the sitting crowd.  This was a missed opportunity to have a dialogue about ‘isms’ in more depth and perhaps in future, the panel might consider asking audience members for questions in advance.

Yet, despite these minor criticisms, the discussion was a useful starting point for thinking about cultural values, as both social and psychological phenomenon, and broader concerns about sustainability of the fashion industry.  As Sandy Black has made clear, the notion of ethical or sustainable fashion is paradoxical: while the industry operates on wastefulness and obsolescence, it simultaneously claims to be our ecological and economic ally.[1]  This is perhaps why it is a challenge for designers such as Boudicca to be understood in a more critical light.  But, last night’s discussion went some small way towards more intellectual reflection of cultural practices and their influence upon our efforts to ‘do better’ by fashion and by default by our complex, dressed social lives.

Finally, if you are studying anything to do with dress, fashion and mental health, I would love to hear from you.  Recently, here in the UK, it was revealed that one in four people have a mental health disability.  How might this impact upon people, especially when it is also often hidden from the normative gaze?  How does the role of dress function within this newly emerging socio-cultural context?


[1] p252, Sandy Black ‘Ethical Fashion and EcoFashion’ in Steele, Valerie (ed) (2010) The Berg Companion to Fashion New York, Berg.

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CFP: International Journal of Costume and Fashion

International Journal of Costume and Fashion (IJCF) invites papers for publication.  IJCF is one of the representative academic journals of the Korean Society of Costume, published biannually in every June and December.

IJCF addresses all aspects of costume and fashion: history of dress, fashion theory, theatrical costume, fashion design, product development, aesthetics, fashion marketing and management, fashion merchandising and retailing, socio-cultural aspect of dress, social psychology of dress, clothing construction, textile science, and new technology in fashion industry. The full paper submitted by October 2014, after the review process, may be published in the journal in 2015. Manuscripts for consideration should be sent to the chief editor at ijcf@ksc.or.kr.

Abstracts of no more than 200 words are required for all papers submitted. Abstracts should briefly describe the objectives, methods, results and inquires so that the reader can better understand the contents of the manuscript. Each manuscript should have four to six keywords below the abstract. For more guidelines for submission, click here.

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Global Mode: Maiyet via Robin Givhan

Anton Onyango Otiende and Benta Otiende, metalsmiths from Kenya. Photograph copyright Guillaume Bonn/Global Assignments at Getty Images.

In February, Robin Givhan wrote a very interesting piece for The Cut about so-called “ethical fashion,” with Maiyet as a case study. The twist in that company’s luxury womenswear offerings is that they are produced not only by real, life artisans, but that said artisans hail from struggling countries or live in areas with few economic opportunities. Part of the profits support the establishment of the metalsmiths, the embroiderers, and the seamstresses as independent, profitable artisans in India, Kenya, Peru, and other places where hand craft skills are still practiced.

In her piece, Givhan dives into the qualifications of the founding partners, lists the big-name backers (Disney, Branson, etc), and has written a meaningful, timely piece on the effectiveness of the “ethical” brands we all love to support.

She outlines my pet protest:

The world of philanthropy has long known how to use Seventh Avenue to spur donations and raise our collective consciousness. Charities have inspired what might be called “pity purchases,” a transaction driven by liberal guilt, lefty do-goodism, or a host of other politically correct motivations rather than that most potent and enduring driver of obscenely priced fashion: pure, unadulterated desire. But ethical fashion still carries the stigma of being inelegant, precious, and a bit twee—unlike in the food industry, say, where customers eagerly pay a premium for farm-to-table bragging rights.

Examines the wonderfully real difficulties of working with craftspeople in global environments:

And then, says [Paul] Van Zyl, there are the silk weavers in India who work out of their homes and can’t work when the temperature soars because, without air conditioning, it’s too hot, and if the doors are left open, the goats come inside and get themselves tangled in the looms, and, well, it’s the kind of mess that the folks over at Hermès don’t have to worry about.

And concludes:

Not everyone can shop at luxury price points, but it’s there that mythology is born and reputations are built. If the luxury market can fetishize Lesage embroidery, can it not come to do the same with Varanasi silk?

"David Mulinga, Richard Ochieng, and the second Richard Ochieng." Photographs copyright Guillaume Bonn/Global Assignments at Getty Images, 2014.

“David Mulinga, Richard Ochieng, and the second Richard Ochieng.” Photographs copyright Guillaume Bonn/Global Assignments at Getty Images, 2014.

What I rather liked about this article was that the photographs accompanying the piece were of Kenyan craftspeople and the pieces they made for Maiyet. No CEO business headshot or “site visit” with a gaggle of smiling children. Givhan’s words were strengthened by portraits of Kenyan “partners” of the label, including the couple Maiyet first invested in through the Nest nonprofit. Givhan’s piece was about the business and product sides of Maiyet, but considering their apparently genuine interest in making small businesspeople visible and viable, it was nice to see the artisans lead the visual aspect of the article (accompanied by the obligatory magazine product-layout).

Watch videos about Maiyet artisans on their website here; how do beautifully-made media enhance the customer experience?

The portraits by Guillaume Bonn reminded me immediately of the work of Jim Naughten, known across the internet for his portraits of Hereros in their unique dress, featured on Worn Through in 2012.

From the “Herero” series by Jim Naughten, 2012. Photo copyright Jim Naughten, 2012.

From the “Herero” series by Jim Naughten, 2012. Photo copyright Jim Naughten, 2012.

Although I admire the Hereros series, and it may be unfair to compare the two photographic intentions, it is heartening to see people photographed for what they do, not what they wear. In their everyday dress (or work clothes?), accompanied by their tools and materials, these are just people! Very talented people, of course. I wonder if the photographs were taken outside of the Maiyet studio, or if the background was intentionally “neutral”?

How do you see “ethical fashion” companies portraying and representing their artisans and producers? Is it important that they are photographed, named, interviewed? Or is that another form of fetishization? Do you ask the same of your favorite small European brands or American producers (or would you have seven years ago)?

Leave your comments below!

 

Lead Photograph: Anton Onyango Otiende and Benta Otiende, metalsmiths from Kenya. Photograph copyright Guillaume Bonn/Global Assignments at Getty Images, 2014.

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Anarchists of Style…Muse Edition: Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an eccentric artist living in New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1910s, exemplified the disillusioned artistic movement of Dadaism through her lifestyle and garb often comprised of an array of found or stolen objects. She ran with the likes of Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, and Jean Heap wrote that she was “the only one living anywhere who dresses Dada, loves Dada, lives Dada.” Few images of the Baroness’ fashions survive, the true picture of her being painted by descriptive testimonials that inspire mainstream fashion in a way that von Freytag-Loringhoven no doubt would have despised.

Click here for more Worn Through coverage of the Baroness.

Baroness - Comme Fall 2012 RTW

Comme des Garcons, Fall 2012

“So she shaved her head. Next she lacquered it a high vermillion. Then she stole the crepe from the door of a house of  mourning and made a dress out of it.”[1]

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Elle Fanning for New York, February 18, 2014

“I went to the consulate with a large-wide sugarcoated birthday cake upon my head with fifty flaming candles lit – I felt just so spunky and afluent [sic]!” [2]

Baroness - Agatha Ruiz

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, F/W 2009

“She stood before me quite naked—or nearly so. Over the nipples of her breasts were two twin tomato cans, fastened with a green string about her back. Between the tomato cans hung a very small bird-cage and a crestfallen canary.” [3]

References

[1] Gammel, I. Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity. The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2002.

[2] von Freytag-Loringhoven, Elsa. Undated letter to Djuna Barnes. http://www.lib.umd.edu/dcr/collections/EvFL-class/bios.html

[3] Gammel, I. Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity. The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2002.

 

 

 

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2nd Annual Research Award Winners!

We were so thrilled to be able to offer our research award again this year.

This is the second time we’ve offered the award and once again there were smart and thoughtful entries. For 2014 we made some changes and offered one award for a student and one for a working professional.

If you’re wondering, the money comes from advertisers. So, please consider advertising if you work for a school, a museum, an auction house, a costume house, a publisher, or something of that nature that appeals to readers. Your money goes to a good cause!

The award is to help support researchers in apparel fields for travel, publishing, presenting, image rights, interviews, or other things of that nature. (It does not go to institutions, strictly individuals or teams).

This year’s winners are:

Susan Neill
She is using the funds to assist with a research trip to the Fashion Institute of Technology for her project on Couturier Bob Bugnand. That project is being presented at CSA and submitted for publication soon.

Sophie Pitman
She is using the funds to assist with her research at the Museum of London into Elizabethan and Jacobean clothing. She plans to help do cataloging for the museum. This work will then inform her PhD thesis.

Best wishes to them both and we look forward to their blog posts here on Worn Through detailing their experiences. Also thank you again to all who applied and we encourage you to apply again next year.

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CFP: Creatures of Comfort, 1650-1950

Rienzi, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s house museum for European decorative arts, celebrates its 15th anniversary as a public collection with the symposium, “Creatures of Comfort: 1650-1950.” By examining the period from 1650 to 1950, how and why did the concept of comfort evolve and become an important part of European and American cultures? What objects, inventions, aesthetic or cultural changes improved ones’ physical or emotional well-being simply by making life more comfortable?

Rienzi houses a significant European collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture, porcelain, and silver from the mid-17th to mid-19th centuries. Built in 1953 as a residence and now a house museum, Rienzi evokes the fine European country houses of the 18th century with formal, yet comfortable, furnishings, entertaining and private spaces, and rooms specifically designed for the enjoyment of family and friends. Rienzi also retains many modern amenities such as central air conditioning, a dishwasher, an elevator and other luxurious essentials that defined the ultimate comforts in America in the 1950s.

The “Creatures of Comfort: 1650-1950” symposium offers academics and emerging scholars an opportunity to explore the ever-changing role of comfort in European and American cultures. The symposium will take place at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from Friday, September 19, 2014, through Sunday, September 21, 2014.

Call for Papers

We invite masters, doctorial students and emerging scholars to direct all submissions to rienzisymposium@mfah.org.  Selected participants will be notified by July 1, 2014. Participants will be offered a $600 travel and lodging stipend.  All presentations will be given on Saturday, September 20, and Sunday, September 21, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Deadline for abstracts: May 1, 2014

Abstract length: 400 words outlining a twenty-minute presentation, along with a current CV

Possible themes of investigation may include, but are not limited to:

  • Interiors
  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Dining
  • Privacy

Leisure Activities

  • Etiquette
  • Gender
  • Costume
  • Travel
  • Technology
  • Economics 

The keynote address will be given on Friday, September 19,2014 by Dr. Joan DeJean, Cultural Historian and Trustee Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research includes the cultural history and the material culture of late 17th- and early 18th-century France.  She is the author of ten books on French literature, history, and material culture, including, The Essence of Style, How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, and SophisticationThe Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual and the Modern Home Began, and her most recent publication, How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City.

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