Fashion and (In)Security

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
SAMLA 95 Conference - Atlanta, GA November 9-13, 2023
contact email: 

Special Session Submission for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) 95 Conference

(In)Security: The Future of Literature and Language Studies

Thursday, November 9 to Saturday, November 11, 2023

Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center, Atlanta, GA

Fashion & (In)Security

Insecurity, danger, and lack of support can redirect human efforts to focus on survival. But uncertainty can also be an impetus for innovative rebellion and imaginative solutions. Even under the worst circumstances, humans create, sometimes in order to survive, sometimes as an act of revolt—including in regard to one of the most distinctly human forms of creativity and expression: fashion. Further, as the psychoanalyst John Carl Flügel has observed, humans have historically used clothing as a means of protection against physical danger, but also as psychological protection and comfort. This panel explores the ways that fashion, dress, and style emerge during times of uncertainty, insecurity, and stress. What changes happen to fashion during shifts from security to insecurity? What roles does fashion take on as we seek to find stability in the surrounding world, or recover confidence within ourselves? We welcome papers devoted to fashion during times of insecurity and security in contemporary society as well as papers focused on the earlier Victorian and Modern periods. We seek papers on both textual and graphic representations of fashion, and we encourage submissions that examine sartorial themes in literature, theater, art, film, photography, design, periodicals, digital media, and other aesthetic modes of expression. 

Topics that might be considered include:

  • Fashion in times of crisis.
  • Fashion as resistance.
  • Fashioning selves/characters through dress.
  • Fashion changes as empowerment.
  • Individual and/vs. group expression through dress.
  • How modern cyclical fashion has changed over time.
  • Fashion and social/political survival.  
  • Fashion and the environment.
  • Clothing as “protection” from psychological, emotional, physical, and other threats.

By July 1, 2023, please send abstracts of 250-500 words along with AV requests and short bio to both Loretta Clayton, Middle Georgia State University, at and Marylaura Papalas, East Carolina University, at