Fashion as Expression and Activism

deadline for submissions: 
May 25, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
contact email: 

Fashion as Expression and Activism

South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) 2018 Conference

November 2-4, 2018 in Birmingham, AL

Co-Chairs:

Dr. Loretta Clayton, Middle Georgia State University

Dr. Marylaura Papalas, East Carolina University

It has been over twenty-five years since Valerie Steele published “The F Word” (1991) in Lingua Franca in which she argued that scholarly inquiry of fashion was nearly anathema in academe. Roughly a decade later, however, in the survey, Fashion (2003), Christopher Breward cited a wealth of academic study of fashion in various fields. The new millennium has brought a welcome rise of publication in this area showing that fashion, dress, design, and style are important means of expression—both at the individual and collective levels—and deserving of critical inquiry. In acknowledgement of the SAMLA 90 Conference theme, "Fighters from the Margins: Socio-Political Activists and Their Allies," this panel calls for papers that consider fashion as a means not only of personal expression, but also of social reform, activism, or as a manifestation of avant-garde ideology. The theme of revolution is particularly relevant for dress, which “links the biological body to the social being, and public to private” (Elizabeth Wilson, Adorned in Dreams, 1985), underscoring clothing’s relationship to political change. Papers on dress reform, anti-fashion, and various kinds of fashion (or fashionable) activism during the Victorian, Modern, or contemporary eras are welcome, as are papers that address avant-garde movements in fashion. We also encourage submissions that examine sartorial themes in literature, theater, art, film, photography, periodicals, design, digital media, and other aesthetic modes of expression. Questions that might be addressed include: When and why have fashion and dress been used in experimental ways and as a means to shape not only the body but also to speak to social issues and to shape the wider culture? How effective is fashionable activism? What are the movements and social formations showing meaningful connections between aesthetics and politics, particularly as related to dress? How have experimental, unconventional, and/or avant-garde movements and designs in dress and fashion been used to address political and societal concerns? Where does fashion intersect with local, national, or global conversations on change? By May 25, 2018, please send abstracts of 250-500 words along with AV requests and short bio to both Loretta Clayton, Middle Georgia State University, at loretta.clayton@mga.edu and Marylaura Papalas, East Carolina University, at papalasm@ecu.edu.