Dressing/Undressing the Victorians: Reading Clothing in a Victorian and Neo-Victorian Context

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University of Chester

Saturday 28th March 2015

Keynote Lecture by Rachel Carroll (Teesside University)

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore how contemporary understandings of the Victorians are shaped by representations of clothing and costume. It will interrogate the cultural afterlives of the Victorian body, both clothed and unclothed. How does contemporary culture, whether literature, art, film, and television, employ costume to shape ideas of Victorian people? What traces of Victorian design have emerged in the clothing cultures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and what meanings are generated by these? Does neo-Victorian fiction rewrite the Victorian body and its clothing in radical ways? How does costume function in theatrical contexts in presenting the Victorians on stage/screen or in performance? Do fashion historians think about Victorians differently to scholars engaging in literary analysis? What 'newly discovered' Victorians have emerged in contemporary culture, and how are they dressed?

Papers of 20-minutes length are invited which address these and related questions. The topics the conference hopes to cover include (but are not limited to) the following:

Costume in screen adaptations of nineteenth-century texts
Representations of clothing in neo-Victorian fiction
The Victorian body
Global Victorians/ ethnic dress
Victorian uniforms
Analyses of the 'costume drama' as a genre
Visual representations of the Victorians
Steampunk culture and costume
Dress in Victorian literature
Costume collections and the heritage industries
Victorians online
Retro designs
Theatre costume
Nostalgia clothing/ fancy dress
Clothing life cycles and second-hand cultures

Please send 250-word abstracts to dressingvictorians@gmail.com by 19th December 2014

Conference organisers: Professor Deborah Wynne, Dr Louisa Yates and Dr Sarah Heaton