Dress and Dissent: Embodying protest

Session Convenors

Annebella Pollen, University of Brighton, a.pollen@brighton.ac.uk

Louise Purbrick, University of Brighton

Session Abstract

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. This session 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.

Suggested 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 forms?
  • 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?

To offer a paper
Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenors, details above.

Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because it will appear online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 5 November 2018

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