MMLA in Detroit, Nov 13-16, 2014, Special Session: The Fashion Lives of Cities

full name / name of organization: 
Susan Ingram, York University
contact email: 

The theme of the 2014 Midwest Modern Language Association, which will take place in Detroit, MI, November 13-16, 2014, is "The Lives of Cities." We invite proposals for a special session on fashion.

In their Fabric of Cultures project, Eugenia Paulicelli and Hazel Clark put forth the view that "fashion is a privileged lens through which to gain a new understanding of cultures and individual lives, as well as the mechanisms of regulating cultural and economic production in the past and in the present" (1). In this special session we turn the privileged lens of fashion, understood broadly to include industrial as well as semiotic processes of material and symbolic production and circulation, on the lives of cities and the lived experiences of urban dwellers in order to ascertain the various ways that fashion has been transforming both built environments and urban imaginaries. We are interested in exploring how the emergence of recognized global centres of the fashion world (Paris, London, New York, Milan, and Tokyo) has affected, and been affected by, developments elsewhere.

Participants might address questions such as:
• How have the lives, and depictions of the lives, of urban inhabitants been influenced by fashion's increasing reach?
• Which genres have proven popular for cultural production on topics involving urban fashion?
• How have individual cities been affected by fashion's siren call?
• How has fashion affected urban space planning?
• Have discernible looks and styles come to be associated with particular cities,
or particular parts of particular cities?
• How have issues of migration intersected with the fashion system?
Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to Susan Ingram ( and Markus Reisenleitner ( More information on the MMLA and its annual convention can be found at: