External News

8 August 2018

Convened by Louise Purbrick and Annebella Pollen, this panel, which focuses on the subject of Dress and Dissent, will take place as part of the 2019 Association for Art History (AAH) conference. This will be held at University of Brighton in April 2019.


Dress and Dissent: Embodying Protest

From Pussy Hats on Women's Marches to all-black attire at awards ceremonies for the Time's Up campaign, the use of dress as a form of 'non-verbal resistance' (Crane, 2000) seems more prevalent than ever in recent times. Clothing's uniquely affective, declarative and performative capacity has meant it has long operated as a central communicative site for political activism and demands for social reform. The session Dress and Dissent aims to gather international scholars to consider these intersections, past and present. We seek fresh case studies, new theoretical perspectives and global viewpoints to develop ways of understanding dress as and for protest in its widest sense.

Suggestive areas for enquiry include:

  • The role of dress in political resistance, activism and campaigns for social reform. Where have these actions arisen? What forms do they take? What methods should we deploy for their analysis?
  • Subversion, transgression and refusal of/in clothing as sartorial statements for social reform and as acts of civil disobedience. How important is spectacle in calls for change? Must radical political messages result in radical design for dress in countercultural and utopian social movements. How are beliefs signified and materialised in these practices? How do they shape, as well as reflect, political ideologies? Where is dress central, incidental or overlooked?
  • T-shirts, tote bags, tie pins, tattoos, sashes, brassards and buttons: the body as placard. What are the symbolic repertoires at play? How can we measure the significance of such gestures? What are the challenges of an aestheticisation of politics?

Proposals should be sent to a.pollen@brighton.ac.uk by 5 November 2018. For more information about the conference, please visit the AAH website.

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