(Updated) Fashion, Culture and the Literary and Media Arts

deadline for submissions: 
February 5, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
English Department, Texas Southern University
contact email: 

Department of English, World Languages, and Philosophy

April 20th and April 21st 2023

contact email:


Fashion and literature have a long, intricate relationship. The function of clothing is primarily to conceal the body, yet in some literary texts and film, clothing can often reveal something about character, whether by its style, value, or use. In the 1928 novels, Plum Bun and Quicksand, Jessie Redmon Fauset and Nella Larsen, respectively, highlight fashion as an essential tool for passing, as well as the embodiment of their characters’ elusive identities. 

In Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel Mrs. Dalloway, the green dress is used to reveal something about the characters through its style and what it represents. In her novel, Orlando, audiences realized Woolf’s attention to clothing as a conscious choice.

The Department of English, World Languages and Philosophy, in conjunction with the 2nd Annual BJT Interdisciplinary Symposium, is seeking proposals for scholarly conference papers, poster board presentations, artwork, etc. that answer the question, what role does fashion play in creating literature and film that embodies race, culture, gender, self-exploration, and so much more. 

Presentations can respond to one of the following questions: How do both modern and contemporary texts address fashion and culture? In what ways do fashion, clothing, and culture merge to help readers gain an understanding of characterization, theme, etc.?

Other topics to consider:

  • The methods and prohibitions of accessing fashion 
  • Representations of fashion and clothing in Hispanic and French literature
  • Fashion and authenticity
  • Intersections of culture and literature
  • Intersection of culture and literature in works by Hispanic and French authors
  • Fashion and identity (self-exploration)
  • The intersection of race, culture, and fashion
  • Clothing as a method of subversion
  • Fashion in times of crisis (in literature and film)
  • Theories and philosophies of fashioning the self
  • Fashion as it is represented in art, media, and visual culture  
  • Fashion, capitalism, and neoliberalism  
  • Fashion and colonialism
  • Ownership and cultural theft
  • Any other topics that bridge fashion and literature, culture and literature, or all three: fashion, culture, and literature

Send abstracts for scholarly conference papers (200-400 words), panel proposals, workshop proposals, (between 3 and 4 selections), to  Iris.Lancaster@tsu.edu  on or before February 5, 2023. Notifications will be sent to all prospective speakers no later than February 15, 2023 

NOTE: If you would like your paper considered for the Patricia R. Williams Writing Award, please send full papers no later than March 1, 2023

The final program will be published in March 2023. Please note—while the organizers are planning on hosting the event on-site, a small number of virtual presentations will be allowed.