• Academic Credits: 3
  • SAS Core: HST
  • Mode of Instruction: Lecture
  • Syllabus:   Fall 2023

    Syllabus Disclaimer:  The information in this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) on the first day of class.

  • Course Description

    Exploring the history and culture of clothing and fashion systems requires a full range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. How Europeans dressed and designed the material objects that shaped their world is deeply revealing of cultural norms, social hierarchies, and individual aspirations. Studying clothing fashions provides a distinctive perspective on the connections between social and gender relations, sexuality and aesthetics, domestic and global systems, tradition and novelty, “the normal” and “the deviant,” and between politics and culture. Fashion and design are also deeply embedded in technology and economic practices and were driving forces of imperial expansion. Since at least the Middle Ages, fashion culture has always been “globalizing” and Europeans have been engaged in an ongoing process of dialog and appropriation of the textiles and design cultures of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

    This course will focus on a series of "moments" in European history when aesthetic styles in clothing became a flashpoint for cultural change. In order to understand the values at stake in the aesthetic choices European men and women made in different eras, students in this class will focus on the tensions between older styles and the adoption of newer styles.