Seminar Proposal for the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
March 19-22, 2020
Clothes, as fashion scholar Tanisha Ford writes, serve as a “powerful social skin”. While the selection of what one wears is linked to taste and trends, clothes can also reflect one’s socioeconomic status, age, physical ability, gender, ethnicity, ancestry, and politics. In this way, clothes often function simultaneously as an assertion of one’s individual self and as a mode of publicly claiming community. Its historical role in the construction of identity situates fashion as unique within the material world and, as this seminar suggests, within literary cultures as well.