Call for Papers: Fashion and Function: Exploring the Protective Uses of Dress in Times of Crisis

24 September 2021

Dressing the Early Modern Network Conference
Supported by King’s College London, online 11.00am GMT

Fashion in the early modern period was both creative and innovative, changing as people responded to the world around them. In times of crisis the functionality of dress as a way of providing protection became a practical concern for people, whatever their social status or financial means. From their materiality to their perceived protection, dress was adapted to serve a specific purpose. Whether dealing with personal crisis, such as illness and financial hardships or larger scale events such as famines, wars, plagues and pandemics, the protective uses of dress have been meticulously employed. From jewellery and amulets to protective masks and clothing, people in the early modern found subjective ways to dress in order to project a feeling of safety and security. Uniforms in times of war were designed specifically to protect from wounds and shield from the weather elements; masks were used during plagues and pandemics; while amulets were widely employed to ward off spirits, illness, and general bad luck.

This conference aims to generate a discussion about the various protective uses of clothing and jewellery, their methods of production, perceived safety and efficacy during times of crisis in the early modern.

The conference is open to all, but we particularly welcome submissions from PhD candidates and early career researchers, who are invited to speak about the topic with reference to their current or previous projects. We invite potential speakers to submit the following as a single document to the Dressing the Early Modern Network at info@dressingtheearlymodern.com: (1) a 300-word paper abstract, which should include the main question of the research project; (2) a paper title; (3) a short written biography (150 words max); (4) institutional affiliations; (5) subject of PhD thesis and (expected) date of completion; and (6) contact information. Each speaker will be allotted twenty minutes.

The deadline for submissions is 10 July 2021. Notification of the outcome will be advised by e-mail before 24 July 2021.

Organised by Jola Pellumbi, Natasha Awais-Dean and Sara van Dijk
Dressing the Early Modern Network