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I found the syllabus below online. Is it useful? There is also an article entitled “The World in Dress” that I will try to upload.
Fashion and Consumption
Professor Ann Marie Leshkowich
Office Hours: M 10-11, 3-4; W 1-2, 3-4; F 1-2, 3-4
Course Description: Clothing is among the most visible and meaningful ways in which we express our identities. At the same time, our clothes are material items produced and consumed through an ever-expanding global fashion industry. This course will explore the various social, cultural, economic, political, and personal meanings associated with fashion and consumption. Combining anthropological and historical methods, we will focus on such questions as:
What role does fashion play in the construction of identity?
Why are fashion and consumption seen as feminine concerns?
What role has clothing played in political and cultural resistance movements?
How is clothing used to differentiate people, in both positive and negative ways?
What are the historical origins of consumer societies?
How has consumer capitalism become a global phenomenon? With what consequences?
Readings will include social theory about fashion and consumption (Bourdieu, Barthes, and Veblen) and ethnographies focusing on such topics as veiling in France, Japanese haute couture, used clothing in Zambia, punks in Britain, and American feminists’ critiques of the fashion and beauty industry. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between consumption of fashion and gender, race, and class.
Students completing this course exploring fashion and consumption from a sociocultural anthropological perspective will understand:
1) The pitfalls of viewing diverse practices from a perspective that defines any one cultural worldview as the norm from which others are judged.
2) Cultural and structural explanations of human behavior as distinct, in particular, from psychological or individualistic explanations.
3) How we can understand broader economic, political, social, or cultural processes through detailed ethnographic field studies of individuals’ daily experiences.
4) The social, economic, and political bases of hierarchies based on such factors as race, ethnicity, gender, and class.
5) Ways in which all communities are enmeshed in processes of globalization, particularly those related to the production, circulation, and consumption of fashion.
The class meets three times per week. Most weeks, two of these periods will be used for lectures, with the additional meeting devoted to viewing films or class discussion. Students will be expected to attend all class meetings (attendance will be taken) and to complete the readings as scheduled on the syllabus. Throughout the semester, students will write brief response papers (2-3 pages) on an assigned topic. These will serve as the basis for group discussion.
Course grades will be based on written work and class participation, broken down as follows:
1. Class Discussion and Participation (15%)
This course takes an active approach to learning; your presence and participation in class are essential to your success! You are required to attend all class meetings, including lectures, films, and discussion sessions. Participation consists of being alert and taking notes during lectures, asking questions to clarify points of misunderstanding, engaging actively in small-group activities, and contributing meaningfully to classroom discussions. Because involvement in class activities is so important, more than two unexcused absences during the semester will result in the lowering of your participation grade by one-half of a percentage point for each additional class missed.
2. Response papers (18%)
In preparation for discussion sections, you will be asked to prepare short response papers on assigned topics. These papers require you to integrate what you have learned from lectures and readings, either by reflecting on them to develop your own insights or by evaluating their methods by completing your own ethnographic research exercise. Nine papers are assigned, and you must complete six. Three of the papers must be completed before the mid-term, and three afterwards. Each of the six assignments will be worth three points, for a total of 18% of your course grade. One extra paper can be completed, in which case the highest six grades will count as your total. Late papers will not be accepted. Papers are to be emailed to Prof. Leshkowich before class on the day indicated on the syllabus.
3. Mid-term (20%)
An in-class mid-term will be given on Wednesday, February 25. The mid-term will consist of identification of key terms and concepts from the first half of the class (readings, lectures, and films), and an essay question.
4. Dress or Spending Diary and 3-5 page paper (12%)
By looking at fashion and consumption around the world, this course asks you to evaluate your own dress and spending practices. To help you to do this, one of the requirements of this class is to maintain a dress or spending diary for two weeks during the semester. The format and content of the diary are described in greater detail on the Writing Assignments Handout. Your diary and a 3-5 page essay evaluating it in light of an author studied during the semester should be emailed to Prof. Leshkowich by 5pm on Tuesday, April 28.
5. Final Exam (35%)
Like the mid-term, the final exam will consist of essays and identification of key terms. There will be a total of two essays: one in response to a broad question synthesizing the major themes of the course and a second question focusing on the material covered after the mid-term. The final exam will be held on Tuesday, May 5 at 8:30 am.
In coming to Holy Cross, students and faculty have joined an intellectual community dedicated to learning together through the open exchange of ideas. For us to feel comfortable sharing our perspectives, we need to be confident that our ideas will be respected as our own. All of us share responsibility for creating an environment conducive to open exchange by holding to principles of trust, integrity, and honesty. Academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, fabrication, cheating, and collusion, violates these fundamental principles. As a student, you are responsible for reading and knowing the College Policy on Academic Honesty, as stated in the College Catalog (pages 12-14). As your professor, I am available to help you understand this policy and to guide you in following appropriate methods of research and citation.
In response to a growing number of infractions of the college policy on academic honesty, all written work for this course will be archived. All response papers and the final dress/consumption diary project must be submitted in electronic form so that they may be permanently stored.
This class adheres to a zero tolerance policy for academic dishonesty. Any work that, upon investigation, is found to violate the college policy will receive a grade of zero and a report will be submitted to the college administration. Further information about these procedures is contained in the College Catalog.
The mid-term, final exam, and course grade will be calculated according to a 100-point scale. The grading scale is as follows:
A, 93 and above
F, 59.99 and below
My office hours are listed at the top of this syllabus, and I encourage you to visit with me during the semester. I am available to discuss specific issues arising from the course, as well as to exchange more general insights and chat about experiences from your studies or my research.
The website for this course is a center for important information: syllabus, lecture handouts, writing assignments, study guide questions, exam review materials, and announcements. Please check it frequently, and feel free to pass along suggestions for additional links and information that should be included. Also, check out my homepage at:
Readings marked “article” on the syllabus are available through ERes. The password for the course is anth269. The following books are required for the course and can be purchased at the bookstore:
Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Routledge, 1979. ISBN: 0415039495
Hansen, Karen Tranberg. Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia. Chicago, 2000. ISBN: 0226315819
Tarlo, Emma. Clothing Matters. Chicago, 1996. ISBN: 0226789764
Jacobs-Huey, Lanita. From the Kitchen to the Parlor: Language and Becoming in African American Women’s Hair Care. Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN13: 9780195304169
Bowen, John. Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves. Princeton University Press, 2007. ISBN13: 978-0-691-13839-8
SCHEDULE FOR THE COURSE
Introduction: Fashion, Consumption, and Anthropology: From Evolution to Product(Red)
While anthropology has long documented practices of dress and consumption, only in recent years have anthropologists come to focus on how the ways we dress reflect and shape aspects of our identities (e.g. class, gender, ethnicity, age, location, and personality), as well as global economic, political, and cultural developments. This first part of the course will introduce the concepts of fashion and consumption, provide a brief historical overview of how anthropology has examined them, and explore why both fashion and consumption have become central to current anthropological studies.
January 14 (W): Linking Fashion, Consumption, and Culture
January 16 (F): From Production to Consumption in Anthropology
Read: Miller, “Consumption and Its Consequences” (article)
Fiske, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” (article)
January 21 (W): The Rise and Fall of Evolution in Dress
Read: Kroeber, “On the Principle of Order in Civilization as Exemplified by Changes of Fashion” (article)
Cannon, “The Cultural and Historical Contexts of Fashion” (article)
January 23 (F): Discussion
January 26 (M): Compassionate Consumption? Considering Product(Red)
Read: Sarna-Wojcicki, “Refigu(red): Talking Africa and Aids in ‘Causumer’ Culture” (article)
Jungar and Salo, “Shop and Do Good?” (article)
Anderson, “Shoppers of the World Unite: (RED)’s Messaging and Morality in the Fight against African AIDS” (article)
January 28 (W): Discussion
Writing Assignment #1 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
Why Do We Want Things and What Do Things Mean? Three Approaches to Understanding Fashion and Consumer Society
Adam Smith, credited as the founder of modern economics, claimed that human beings have an innate desire to acquire things so that we might earn the admiration of others. Anthropologists have tended to claim, on the contrary, that the desire to accumulate material possessions is socially and culturally created. How are desires for different types of material possessions created? Why do we want things? In this unit, we will explore three different explanations as to why more and more people around the world have come to live in consumer societies and how their consumption practices relate to culture and class. To ground our theoretical discussion, we will read ethnographies about punks in Britain and secondhand clothing in Zambia.
January 30 (F): Thorstein Veblen and the Conspicuous Consumption of the the Leisure Class
Read: Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class chap. 4-7, pp. 60-131 (article)
February 2 (M): Discussion
Writing Assignment #2 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
February 4 (W): Barthes and the Semiotics of Consumption
Read: Barthes, The Fashion System pp. 3-18 (article)
Neich, “A Semiological Analysis of Self-Decoration in Mount Hagen, New Guinea” (article)
February 6 (F): The Language of Subculture: The Case of Punk
Read: Begin Hebdige, Subculture
February 9 (M): Is Clothing a Language?
Read: Continue Hebdige, Subculture
February 11 (W): Movie: The Filth and the Fury
Read: Finish Hebdige, Subculture
McCracken, Culture and Consumption chap. 4, pp. 57-70 (article)
February 13 (F): Discussion, to be supervised by Prof. Jennie Germann Molz
Writing Assignment #3 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
February 16 (M): Bourdieu on Cultural Capital, Guest lecture by Prof. Caroline Yezer
Read: Bourdieu, 1-17, 177-225 (article)
February 18 (W): Movie, T-Shirt Travels
For more information on the film, see its website
Read: Begin Hansen, Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia
February 20 (F): The Cultural Economy of Taste and Style: Secondhand Clothing in Zambia
Read: Finish Hansen, Salaula
February 23 (M): Discussion
Writing Assignment #4 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
February 25 (W): MID-TERM
Case Study 1: Colonialism, Dress, and Identity in India
It is no accident that the emergence of consumer societies in Europe and North America coincided with colonialism. Focusing on India, we will explore three questions: How and why did colonialism promote increased consumption in England? What role did dress play in colonialism? What has been the legacy of colonialism for fashion in India today?
February 27 (F): Colonialism, Consumption, and Civilizing Fashion
Read: Tarlo, Clothing Matters chap. 1-2, pp. 1-61
March 2 (M) – March 6 (F): No class, Spring Vacation
March 9 (M): Anti-colonial Dress
Read: Tarlo, Clothing Matters chap. 3-4, pp. 62-128
March 11 (W): Post-Colonial Dilemmas: What to Wear?
Read: Tarlo, Clothing Matters chap. 5, 6, 8, pp. 129-201, 251-283
March 13 (F): Discussion
Writing Assignment #5 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
Case Study 2: Race and Fashion: The Case of the “Japanese Invasion”
In the 1980s, the international fashion press heralded the sudden emergence of Japanese designers as major players in the world of high fashion — an arena previously dominated by Paris, Milan, and New York. Does race matter in high fashion? How do race and gender intersect? Is ethnic difference simply another marketing ploy to sell a commodity?
March 16 (M): Orientalism
Read: Said, Orientalism, pp. 1-28
March 18 (W): Commodifying Difference
Read: Kondo, About Face, chap. 3 (“Orientalizing: Fashioning Japan”) and 5 (“Fabricating Masculinity: Gender, Race, and Nation in the Transnational Circuit”), pp. 55-99 and 157-186
March 20 (F): Movie, A Notebook On Cities and Clothes
March 23 (M): Discussion
Writing Assignment #6 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
Case Study 3: Gender, or “Why are Fashion and Consumption Seen as Female?”
Picture in your mind someone shopping or reading a fashion magazine. Is the person you imagine a man or a woman? Most likely, you imagined a woman. In this unit, we will explore the cultural, social, and economic circumstances that have made both consumption and fashion associated with women and feminine concerns. Why is consumption seen as the domain of women? What are the links between gender, fashion, and beauty? Why are these practices gendered in this way? Are they universal? In the US, how is women’s fashion related to race and class? How have fashions and their gendered politics changed over time?
March 25 (W): Gendered Consumption
Read: Nava, “Women, the City and the Department Store” (article)
Friedan, “The Sexual Sell” (article)
Bordo, “Hunger as Ideology” (article)
March 27 (F): Movie, Killing Us Softly
March 30 (M): Can You Be Feminist and Fashionable? Can You Be Masculine and Care How You Look?
Read: Wilson, “Feminism and Fashion” (article)
Gladwell, “Listening to Khakis” (article)
Campbell, “Shopping, Pleasure, and the Sex War” (article)
April 1 (W): Discussion: Women, Men, and Fashion
Read: Jacobs-Huey, From the Kitchen to the Parlor, introduction, chapters 1-3 (pp. 3-70)
April 3 (F): The Cultural Politics of African American Women’s Hair
Read: Jacobs-Huey, From the Kitchen to the Parlor, chapters 4-7 (pp. 71-148)
April 6 (M): Discussion
Writing Assignment #7 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
Case Study 4: The Cultural Politics of Veiling in France and the US
To many in North America and Western Europe, veiling makes a powerful fashion statement that signifies women’s subordination among the Islamic populations who practice it. If this is the case, why are many educated, modern women in North America and Western Europe choosing to wear the veil? Can veiling in fact be a form of resistance? If so, what is being resisted? Is the resistance successful?
April 8 (W): The Multiple Meanings of Veiling
Read: Bowen, Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves, chapters 1-4
April 10 (F) – April 13 (M): No class, Easter Break
April 15 (W): Veiling: Oppression, Resistance, Religion, and Culture in France and the US
Read: Bowen, Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves, chapters 5-7
Abu-Lughod, “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?
April 17 (F): Movie: Under One Sky: Arab Women in North America Talk about the Hijab
Read: Finish Bowen, Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves, chapters 8-10
April 20 (M): Discussion
Writing Assignment #8 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
Case Study 5: Globalization and Dress Meanings
With more and more people, goods, and ideas circulating around the world, we are witnessing two somewhat contradictory fashion trends. First, people around the world are wearing so-called Western clothes. Second, many consumers have greater opportunity to appreciate different fashions and see the spread of the global marketplace as a chance to consume diversity, and so-called “ethnic clothing” is more popular than ever before. How can we make sense of these developments? What economic and social relationships does globalization promote? Focusing on the production and consumption of dress in Asia and our own daily choices about what to wear, we will explore the impact of globalization on different types of people and societies.
April 22 (W): The Globalization of Fashion
Read: Tarlo, Clothing Matters, chapter 9, 284-317
Leshkowich and Jones, “What Happens When Asian Chic Becomes Chic in Asia?” (article)
Woodward, Why Women Wear What They Wear, chapter 4 (article)
April 24 (F): Discussion
Writing Assignment #9 due by email to Prof. Leshkowich before class.
Conclusion: Alternatives to Consumer Society
While globalization may have different impacts on different people and places, one thing seems certain: more and more societies are becoming “consumer societies.” What are the benefits and disadvantages to consumer societies (culturally, economically, socially, environmentally)? What are the alternatives? Are they desirable?
April 27 (M): The Debate about Consumer Society
Read: Twitchell, “Two Cheers for Materialism” (article)
Schor, “The Downshifter Next Door” and “Learning Diderot’s Lesson” (article)
Diary and 3-5 page paper due on Tuesday, April 28 by 5pm by email t…
Tuesday, May 5 at 8:30am: FINAL EXAM